Employment is key to ending homelessness:
WHAT: People experiencing homelessness need employment to regain independence, however they often face multiple barriers to work. The federal workforce system has resources to help, but it does not always serve those most in need.
HOW: We invest in projects to leverage the federal workforce system to better serve homeless people.
- We made a series of grants, including funding the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County to create and convene the National Advisory Group of Workforce Investment Boards to collaborate on ideas for how best to serve people experiencing homelessness. We funded The Road Home in Salt Lake City, UT to establish an employment pilot in two supportive housing facilities to test and implement the assumption that “everyone is employable.” We funded the Supportive Housing Providers Association of IL to research and develop ways to support people experiencing homelessness in accessing training and employment through the workforce system.
- We funded the National Transitional Jobs Network (part of Heartland Alliance) to scope homeless employment programs nationally, and to share what they learned. This and other work helped spark a national dialogue and got the attention of the Secretary of Labor.
PULLING IT TOGETHER: By partnering with government and philanthropy, we leveraged the grants we made.
- We collaborated with the Oak Foundation and Melville Charitable Trust to launch the National Center on Employment and Homelessness and the Connections Project, whose purpose is to increase employment and economic opportunity for homeless jobseekers.
- Our funding leveraged the Partnerships for Opening Doors Summit, co-sponsored with the federal Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Communities, federal agencies, and national organizations gathered to identify promising practices, and common misconceptions and barriers to using federal funding to support these practices. Attended by Cabinet Secretaries Perez and Castro from DOL and HUD, the Summit catalyzed tremendous interest and work around this issue in which we are jointly engaged.
Smart public spending keeps families housed:
WHAT: Public funds should be spent strategically to end homelessness.
HOW: We invest in innovative efforts to ensure that public funds are spent strategically to keep families housed.
- We supported the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program to successfully advocate for state funding for intensive case management for people experiencing homelessness or who are newly housed. With the leverage of state funded mental health care, these vulnerable people are far more likely to remain housed.
- We supported the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Alliance to End Homelessnessto explore how to deploy TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to reduce the time families experience homelessness. These groups promoted and implemented “Rapid Rehousing” strategies using these funds, helping families move quickly out of homelessness. They worked with local and state officials to leverage TANF resources to support and stabilize these families.
PULLING IT TOGETHER: The federal government steps in.
- These grants helped provide evidence that laid the groundwork for the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to all 50 states and the District of Columbia encouraging the use of TANF funds to serve homeless families and families at risk of homelessness.
Housing prevents homelessness for youth leaving foster care:
WHAT: Leaving foster care should not be a ticket into homelessness.
HOW: Through our collaboration with the Oak Foundation, we support efforts to ensure these youth are housed. We invest in efforts to bridge the housing and child welfare systems to leverage housing resources for these youth.
- We supported Lighthouse Youth Services and the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare to bring together housing and child welfare officials so that they could coordinate on leveraging housing funds for youth aging out of foster care.
- Since California is a bellwether state, we invested in First Place for Youth to craft statewide policy that leveraged a new housing program for older youth.