Long term investment pays off. We were an early and long term funder of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s successful campaign for a national housing trust fund. The fund’s purpose is to increase and preserve affordable housing for extremely low income households. It is expected to generate hundreds of millions of new dollars annually. We have also supported state and local housing trust fund campaigns. We were the first national funder to support SCANPH’s “Housing LA” trust fund campaign. Our grant helped attract additional grant dollars. Three years later, the mayor of LA signed a $100 million annual housing trust fund into law, making it the largest municipal fund of its kind. We supported PACDC in its campaign to establish the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund. To date, over 14,000 low- and moderate-income families, seniors, disabled and homeless people have gained access to expanded housing opportunities through this Fund. We funded the Michigan Organizing Project in a successful campaign for a housing trust fund in Kalamazoo City and County.
Investing in public/private partnership helps end homelessness. Butler’s investment in the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition enabled Chattanooga to draw down substantial federal homeless funding for the city. Our seed grant supported the development of Chattanooga’s Blueprint to End Homelessness, resulting in dramatic reductions homelessness in Chattanooga. Over a four year period, chronic homelessness in the region declined by 89%, and overall homelessness fell by 48%. Chattanooga’s leadership built on this solid base of planning, research and outreach to refine their plan to make long-term, smart, strategic resource allocations for significant gains toward ending homelessness.
Career pathways support independence for formerly homeless people. We invest in programs that deliver experience, coaching, and job placement. We supported Portland’s New City Initiative‘s cooking/employment program and JOIN’s collaboration with Central City Concern for employment navigators to expedite pathways to jobs. In Hartford, we invested in Billings Forge’s efforts to broaden its network of potential employers for its clientele. Collectively these grants found the importance of cultivating collaborative relationships with potential employers and connecting trainees directly with employers.
Employment for newly housed adults bridges pathways to independence. Butler helped launch The Road Home‘s HousingWorks Employment Plan, a pilot program to experiment with innovative methods of providing employment services to individuals in permanent supportive housing. By bringing public and private agencies to collaborate across systems, this partnership helped create a “culture of employment” among both clients and service providers. Initial results showed the pilot generated jobs, increased access to supportive services, and provided evidence that “everyone is employable” if the right programs and supports are in place. Results and learning are being shared around the country.
Investing in strong leadership makes a difference. At our suggestion, Witnesses to Hunger, a national advocacy group of families who give voice to hunger in America, partnered with Martha’s Table, a multi-service nonprofit in the District of Columbia working with children, families, and neighbors to break the cycle of poverty. Investing in strong leadership at both organizations, we seeded a Witnesses to Hunger chapter in the nation’s capital to advocate for lasting change on a local, state and national level.
Housing is key to reducing recidivism. We supported the Corporation for Supportive Housing in Los Angeles to pilot “JIR 2.0” to reduce LA’s chronically homeless jail population by connecting these vulnerable inmates to supportive housing on release. Building off JIR 2.0’s success, LA County Probation is now investing $4.2 million of its own funds to support a time-limited rental subsidy and support services for these probationers. These types of programs end the cycle of homelessness and recidivism for justice-involved Angelenos whose underlying crisis is a lack of stable housing.