WHAT: Our country faces a severe affordable housing crisis.
HOW: We invest in campaigns to create dedicated sources of public funding to support the preservation and production of affordable housing. Communities around the country use these housing trust funds to help house their most vulnerable neighbors.
• National Level: We were an early and long term funder of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s successful campaign to create a national housing trust fund. In 2017, $219 million was awarded to communities around the country from this fund.
• State Level: We’ve been long term supporters of the Housing Trust Fund Project, which provides technical assistance in all 50 states on how to design, run, and fund housing trust fund campaigns. In 2016, these efforts yielded an excess of $1.2 billion annually for critical housing needs in 47 states and the District of Columbia, as well as more than 700 cities and counties.
• Local Level:
o Los Angeles, CA: We were the first national funder to support SCANPH’s “Housing LA” trust fund campaign. Our grant helped attract additional grant dollars for the campaign. Over time, SCANPH and its partners pushed for, and in 2016, succeeded in raising $1.2 billion in bonds that the City of LA will use over 10 years to provide capital for permanent supportive housing.
o Philadelphia, PA. We supported PACDC in its campaign to establish the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund. Since 2005, that trust fund has raised nearly $109 million and helped more than 27,000 low- and moderate-income families, seniors, disabled and homeless people.
WHAT: Without employment, people exiting homelessness cannot support themselves.
HOW: Nonprofits can help bridge the gaps between available public funding and clients who need jobs.
We supported DC Central Kitchen to advocate for and create a strong public-private partnership to help people with high barriers to work find jobs. DC Central Kitchen and its partners have been working to eliminate barriers and silos, leverage federal and local government funds, and strengthen DC workforce policies and practices to address the employment and training needs of at-risk people.
WHAT: Homelessness and the criminal justice system prey on one another. Lack of housing results in people being detained pre-trial, and criminal justice involvement (arrest and conviction) creates barriers to housing.
HOW: We support efforts to break this unhappy relationship.
• Provide housing as an alternative to detention. Women, many of whom are mothers, are jailed for months simply because they are homeless or cannot make bail. We supported Housing+Solutions and partners to create a pilot in New York City to provide housing for women during the pre-trial period as an alternative to jail. The women are offered services to help them stabilize and meet their criminal justice requirements. The results were so strong that the New York Mayor’s Office of Diversion Re-entry and Prevention decide to fund a $2.3 million demonstration to expand the project over 3 years.
• Eliminate barriers to housing upon re-entry. We support the Shriver Center in its advocacy to reduce the collateral consequences of incarceration, particularly barriers to housing. Our grant helped fund the groundbreaking report When Discretion Means Denial: A National Perspective on Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing. This report and related advocacy resulted in the Department of Housing and Urban Development issuing landmark guidance stating that housing denials based solely on criminal records could be considered race discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
• Housing is key to reducing recidivism. We supported CSH’s work in Los Angeles to promote programs seeking to end the cycle of homelessness and recidivism for justice-involved Angelenos whose underlying crisis is a lack of stable housing.
o Just in Reach. Just in Reach seeks to reduce LA’s chronically homeless jail population by connecting vulnerable inmates to supportive housing on release. After a successful pilot, JIR will launch as a pay for success project and create over 300 of these housing slots. In addition, Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services’ Office of Diversion and Reentry has committed to permanently house an additional 1,000 clients who meet the JIR eligibility requirements.
o Breaking Barriers. Breaking Barriers is a rapid rehousing program for people on probation who are experiencing homelessness, funded through the Los Angeles County Probation Department. The project will receive $4.2 million over 2 years from Los Angeles County Probation and additional foundation support. During the first two years of implementation, Breaking Barriers housed 200 people. It will provide up to 24 months of rental subsidies and will continue to grow.
WHAT: To create long term solutions, government needs to step up.
HOW: Long-term, strategic resource allocation can help end homelessness.
• Butler’s seed grant to the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition enabled Chattanooga to draw down substantial federal homeless funding for the city. That money supported the development of Chattanooga’s Blueprint to End Homelessness, resulting in dramatic reductions homelessness. Over a four-year period, chronic homelessness in the region declined by 89%, and overall homelessness fell by 48%.