Theory of Change

At the beginning of 2016, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation launched a second five-year phase in its efforts to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. The Hilton Foundation employs formative evaluation to inform its strategic initiatives, and just last month the cumulative report of the first five years of the Homelessness Initiative was chosen as Glasspockets’ #OpenForGood staff pick. Selected for its breadth and transparency, the article highlights the report in “not just attempting to isolate the foundation-funded part of the work” and providing “a suitably complicated picture of an issue that will be an ongoing, multi-agency struggle.” Today marks the release of the first report of the second phase of the initiative, and while the strategic approach doubles down on the successful systems change work that has made Los Angeles County’s efforts a model for the nation, the Foundation has defined its goals in a completely new way in Phase II.

Phase II report interactive platform

Developed by Abt Associates, Inc.

Visit the platform here

In this second phase, the Foundation has adopted the community goals around ending chronic homelessness as our own goals in evaluating the success of the initiative. In doing so, the success of the Foundation is defined by community-wide progress toward these goals. This reorientation represents a natural shift as the Foundation’s growing partnerships with public, philanthropic and nonprofit partners have continued to deepen since the initial launch of the strategy in 2010. In recognizing the importance of our role in investing in catalytic systemic change, the Foundation realized that the initiative’s goals needed to also reflect this system-wide approach to impact.

This evaluation report examines the first year of this second phase and employs a new evaluation design. Developed by our Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) partners at Abt Associates, the evaluation strives to measure and inform the collective efforts of the Foundation and our partners against the common goal of ending chronic homelessness, by taking a deep dive into both community progress as well as the Foundation’s role in that progress. With the recent passage of Measures H and HHH (which together will provide nearly $5 billion in city and county resources toward ending homelessness over the next decade), the evaluation presents a timely picture of systems alignment, functionality and sustainability in a complex arena of stakeholders and organizations including elected officials, public sector agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses, residents and philanthropy.

This year, the report from Abt Associates also features an online interactive platform. This online tool allows readers to quickly navigate through the report’s key findings and recommendations within three priority focus areas: building political will and community strategies; providing a sufficient number of permanent supportive housing units to meet the defined need; and placing individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in permanent supportive housing through the countywide prioritization system. The interactive platform is an especially useful resource for practitioners, policymakers and grantmakers seeking to understand key opportunities and speedbumps in combating homelessness both within, and outside of Los Angeles County.

As we enter this next phase of collaboration, the Hilton Foundation looks toward a future that continues to capture the progress of an “all hands on deck” effort across philanthropy, the City and County of Los Angeles, and the network of providers who all contribute to a Los Angeles without chronic homelessness.

Phase II Evaluation report

Developed by Abt Associates, Inc.

Read the report