WHAT: No young person should be homeless. Cross-sector partnerships that promote innovative, evidence-based solutions can help end youth homelessness.
HOW: We invest in collaborations that find, promote, and capitalize on solutions.
- National Efforts: Butler is a seed funder of A Way Home America (AWHA), a coalition of public sector organizations, homeless youth providers, advocates, researchers, young people, and philanthropy from across the country. These partners identify and promote policies and practices to ensure that no young person is homeless, and that episodes of homelessness are brief and onetime.
- State Efforts: We supported a collaboration between the Maine-based Preble Street and Muskie School of Public Service to design and conduct a youth point-in-time count that engaged young people as colleagues and leaders. This collaboration addressed the challenges of counting homeless youth in a rural state. The methodology received Cabinet level attention and was lifted up as a national model. Preble Street and Muskie continue to work together to advance lessons learned from the youth count.
- Local Efforts: Our grant to Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland supported a community wide effort in Cleveland to prevent and end youth homelessness. The work was documented and evaluated to teach communities around the country how to do this type of collaboration. Cleveland then became one of three initial cities to launch a 100 Day Challenge to End Youth Homelessness, coordinated by A Way Home America and the Rapid Results Institute. The collaboration exceeded its ambitious goal and housed 105 homeless young adults in 100 days.
WHAT: Vouchers are key to housing people experiencing homelessness and those with very low incomes. The 2013 federal budget “Sequester” continues to require indiscriminate cuts on non-defense spending, putting tens of thousands of housing vouchers at risk. Additional devastating cuts to housing and homelessness programs are threatened in the administration’s proposed 2018 budget.
HOW: We identified collaborative work to help roll back voucher cuts due to the Sequester, and we organized philanthropy to help support it.
- Cooperation yields success. In addition to providing funding to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Housing Law Project, we helped engage other funders to support this effort. During the first year of the Sequester, about 30,000 vouchers were restored. This was a great start, but less than half the desired number. With continued hard work and strategic collaboration, over time, most funding for vouchers was restored. There was nearly $1.1 billion (2.2 percent) more funding in the final 2017 HUD budget for housing and community development than in 2016. The need, however, dwarfs the federal funding. Further collaboration will be necessary to oppose deep cuts proposed in the 2018 budget.