In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the destruction has been devastating and the complete impact of these storms remain to be seen. Those affected face a long road of uncertainty, especially those in poverty or already experiencing homelessness. Philanthropy can and should address the short-term needs to provide safety and protection for people in the path of these storms, but should also focus on a long-term response aimed at rebuilding in ways that address the needs of people with the lowest incomes and/or who are experiencing homelessness.
Below is a list of responses and resources by and for those involved in the work to end homelessness in response to this record-breaking storm.
In addition, Funders Together to End Homelessness is committed to sharing how we can support the identified needs of Texas and Florida and surrounding areas. We are currently working with our members local to the area and will provide timely updates and resources that can further aid in the development of both short and long term responses. Please check back and watch your email for more detail.
From Our Partners
Lessons Learned from Disaster Recovery
How does strategic philanthropy differ from non-strategic philanthropy? What is the role of collaboration? The Episcopal Health Foundation shares its thinking.Read more
The Shepherds in Blue: How a Partnership Between Philanthropy and Houston Police is Guiding People Home
With support from Funders Together Houston, The Frees Foundation, and The Simmons Foundation, the Houston Police Department created a Homeless Outreach Team and documented their efforts in a documentary called The Shepherds in Blue.Read more
By harnessing the power of New England's technology ecosystem to source, screen, and fund social innovation, TUGG is supporting Youth Harbors, a program for homeless, unaccompanied high school students.Read more
Who sets the agenda? If we believe in the work of our non-profits, we should just give them the damn money.Read more
We know what works. Philanthropy can help take it to scale.Read more
This collection of resources from the National Alliance to End Homelessness provides information about best practices and implementation strategies for front door strategies, such as coordinated intake, prevention, and diversion. By implementing these strategies, communities can decrease entries into homelessness.
In a climate of growing need and shrinking resources, data is a critical management tool that helps communities better understand where efforts are achieving the desired impact and, in contrast, where changes are needed to improve results. These resources from USICH aim to help communities improve their data quality and use data more effectively to make policy, funding, and program design decisions.
- Performance Measurement of Homeless Systems
- What Gets Measured, Gets Done: Toolkit on Performance Measurement for Ending Homelessness
- Making the Most of HMIS Data: A Guide to Understanding Homelessness and Improving Programs in Your Community
- Building Knowledge, Effectiveness, and Capacity: Advancing Data on Homelessness in Eleven Communities
- The Community Perspective: Using Research and Technology to Identify Solutions to Prevent and End Homelessness
- Demonstrating the Uses of Homeless Data at the Local Level
- From Intake to Analysis: Developing a Continuum of Care Data Quality Plan
- Enhancing HMIS Data Quality
- HMIS Self-Assessment Tool
- HMIS Budget and Staffing Toolkit
Access these and other resources on the USICH website.
Effectively implementing housing-based solutions to homelessness often requires non-profit service providers to shift their efforts toward prevention, diversion, rapid re-housing, and housing stability and away from more traditional, temporary shelter options.
Here is a set of questions to ask potential grantees when assessing where they are in terms of making that shift as well as their capacity to effectively implement or expand housing-based solutions. These questions were adapted from materials developed for Massachusetts grantmakers by The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation.
- How would you describe homelessness in our community? How effective are the safety net services? How can we make those services more effective?
- Do you have a strategic plan that connects your work back to the broader goals of the community (such as the community’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, if one exists)?
- Where does your organization fall along the continuum of care for people experiencing homelessness? Are you committed to housing-based solutions?
- Do you/how do you help people experiencing homelessness move quickly into long-term housing and/or provide tailored services to help them remain housed?
Services and Supports
- Describe the supportive services you offer or connect to that help stabilize consumers in permanent homes.
- What conditions, such as sobriety or mandatory participation in mental health treatment, do you place on people who are accessing temporary shelter, long-term housing, and/or supportive services?
- Describe the homelessness prevention and diversion services you offer or connect to.
- How have you or how do you plan to retrain your staff toward housing-based services?
- If you have already retrained your staff, what outcomes are you seeing as a result?
Connections and Coordination
- How deep are your connections to other organizations in the community that serve homeless people, including other shelters and housing programs as well as hospitals, mental health facilities, and drug treatment programs?
- How deep are your relationships with landlords in the community? Do these relationships help homeless people have shorter stays in emergency shelter? Do they help consumers overcome financial, credit, and other barriers to housing?
- How skilled is your staff at helping people connect to mainstream services for low-income (not necessarily homeless or at-risk) people, such as health care, welfare, Headstart, education, and job training?
- Does the community have a coordinated entry program? If not, why? How can we make it happen? If yes, how well does it work for your organization and the people you serve?
Data, Outcomes, and Advocacy
- Can you measure your success with the people you serve? What outcomes do you track?
- How do you use data to improve your programs and services?
- How does your organization advocate on behalf of those you serve? Do you actively advocate for housing-based solutions to end homelessness?