WHAT: Housing vouchers are key to providing housing for homeless and very low income people. The federal budget deal called the “Sequester” placed indiscriminate cuts on non-defense spending that put tens of thousands of housing vouchers at risk.
HOW: We helped pull together support for public education to roll back those cuts. In addition to the grants we gave to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Housing Law Project, we helped engage other funders from around the country to support this effort. During the first year of funding, about 30,000 vouchers were restored. This was a great start, but less than half the desired number. Thus, advocacy work is ongoing. A major step forward was the president’s proposed FY 2016 budget that seeks to restore not only the 67,000 vouchers cut by sequestration, but also targets 30,000 of these additional vouchers on homeless families, survivors of domestic and dating violence, and families in need of housing assistance to reunite with children in foster care.
WHAT: No young person should be homeless. We support communities to work together to end youth homelessness.
HOW: To prevent and end youth homelessness, it is critical to know who are the young people experiencing homelessness and why; what are the available resources; and where are the service gaps–including street outreach, emergency shelter, and long-term housing. Through our collaboration with the Oak Foundation, we in turn invest in collaborations to address these needs.
- In Cleveland, our grant to the Sisters of Charity Foundation supported a community wide plan to prevent and end youth homelessness by documenting and evaluating work that will be shared around the country.
- In Maine, we supported Preble Street and the Muskie School of Public Service to collaborate on designing and conducting a youth point-in-time count by engaging young people as colleagues and leaders. When the count is completed, our grant will support these two organizations to collaborate on policy solutions. What they learn should help inform work to end youth homelessness in other states, especially those with large rural areas.
- Our grants to Nebraska Appleseed and the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supported collaborative work to train youth advocates and educate policy makers. The result: successful efforts to raise the age of foster care to 21, and improved statewide policies to help address and prevent homelessness after foster care.