Reposted from Funders Together to End Homelessness

Funders Together to End Homelessness, a national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness, recently issued a response to the White House Council of Economic Advisers “The State of Homelessness in America” report and proposed federal intervention on homelessness in Los Angeles. This post originally appeared on their blog.

Recently, news of the Trump Administration’s plan to “address homelessness” in California spread quickly in the field, causing concern and alarm. Then, on Monday night, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers released “The State of Homelessness in America” which outlines troubling actions the Administration is proposing as a solution.  

Given this report and the other attacks on communities who are historically marginalized like through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed “mixed status” families rule, changes to the Equal Access Rule, and the public charge, we know the approach and method that will make up this federal intervention are not evidenced-based, ethical, or equitable, and it will not solve homelessness in Los Angeles or other communities facing the same challenges.  

Homelessness is a crisis in our country. It isn’t a new one, but it is growing. Not because current solutions to homelessness aren’t working, rather the solutions can’t keep up with the inflow from the root causes of homelessness like the increasing lack of affordable housing, continually stagnant wages, and racial inequities in housing. While in the report the Administration claims it wants to address the root causes of homelessness, there is a clear misunderstanding of homelessness, its contributing factors, and appropriate responses. Using the federal government’s resources to “warehouse” people or utilizing public safety officials to reinforce harmful policies isn’t effective because it won’t address the causes of this crisis and may, in fact, exacerbate it. 

Private philanthropy and the federal government are both investors in the community. And as investors, we are also partners. Together, it is crucial to think about how we can engage in meaningful partnerships to support solutions that address root causes, show compassion, and prioritize the care of people. We know what works: access to safe and affordable homes. Housing is the answer to housing instability and homelessness. That is a proven, evidence-based fact and there are supported models already in place that are working in communities across the country. We’ve seen the power of public-private partnership in cities like Los Angeles, and how initiatives can be effective when funders and local leaders who know the community best collaborate and respond to what residents need

Philanthropy is ready to collaborate with our federal partners through effective and intentional public-private partnerships, as well as provide support to our community advocates to ensure those in need have access to a safe and affordable place to call home. It is committed to working with local and federal partners to support evidence-based models and approaches that prioritize access to affordable housing, centering people with lived expertise, and compassion. Philanthropy will continue to work to ensure solutions are implemented with a racial equity lens in order to end racial disparities in housing and homelessness.  

“Philanthropy has invested in, not only solutions to end homelessness, but the evaluation and research of those solutions to better understand what works and what does not,” said Amanda Andere, CEO of Funders Together to End Homelessness. “We need our federal partners to continue to work with us to support to best practices and not revert to policies that we know are ineffective and inhumane.”