Our board recently approved the second phase of our strategy to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County, which aims to build upon the successes of Phase 1.
Over the past 25 years, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has supported efforts to end long-term homelessness across the nation. We have sought to advance compassionate and cost-effective solutions to homelessness, awarding more than $90 million in grants—primarily by advancing the permanent supportive housing model since 1990.
At the close of 2015, our board approved the second phase of our strategy—an additional five-year commitment to begin in January 2016.
In 2010, we launched a five-year strategic initiative focusing on ending chronic homelessness in Los Angeles County. Research at the time estimated the county would need approximately 12,000 additional supportive housing units to accommodate its entire chronically homeless population—those experiencing long-term homelessness and using the most services. This could only be achieved through the investment of billions of dollars in development and an additional $280 million to support operations each year. Only the public sector has the resources to support this level of funding, so, if we wanted to achieve measurable progress, we would need government partners.
With this in mind, we began efforts to create a collective commitment by bringing public and private leaders together to align our expertise and dollars toward work that emphasized the long term solutions to, rather than the short term management of, homelessness. Our initiative has focused on improving the way we respond to chronic homelessness, by using philanthropic funding and partnership to leveraging public resources more effectively for large-scale systemic change.
Since our strategy’s January 2011 start date, our board of directors has approved more than $57 million in grant funding to increase access and prioritization to permanent supportive housing for the most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. Through these funding commitments, we have seen unprecedented levels of innovation and partnership between key foundation, city, and county leaders. Successful examples include: Home For Good and the Funders Collaborative, the Coordinated Entry System , and the Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool.
Phase II aims to build upon the successes of Phase I by doubling down on the successful systems change work that has made Los Angeles County’s efforts a model for the nation. Through Phase II, we will work to ensure that these changes continue to support well-functioning, sustainable systems that are empowered with resource commitments at a scale large enough to prevent and end chronic homelessness within Los Angeles County. Efforts in Phase II will also support research and pilot programs to help identify how we may be able to stem the inflow of people who begin to experience chronic homelessness.
1. Facilitate systems change.
The Foundation will continue to tap into opportunities to drive funders, providers, and public leaders to invest resources and improve efficiencies in both housing and service provision. We will also build upon previous investments by unlocking new funding opportunities, supporting city and county plans, and transitioning new systems to more sustainable, long-term infrastructures.
2. Support “upstream” programs and pilots.
We will look “upstream” to better understand how people become chronically homeless and examine emerging consensus on prevention strategies. We will also build capacity to meet the growing need for supportive housing units by supporting developers and providers in the creation of new units and securing existing market rate housing.
3. Develop and disseminate knowledge.
We will continue to learn, refine, and innovate by supporting research, evaluation, and data systems. Beyond Los Angeles, we will continue to share insights and knowledge that promote continuous learning about effective practices to prevent and end chronic homelessness.
While annual evaluation reports from our partners at Abt Associates have highlighted the Foundation meeting or exceeding the goals of the first phase of the strategic initiative, the reports also highlight how the Foundation has helped to ignite unprecedented collaboration and alignment. With this in mind, in Phase II, the goals will no longer measure success based upon our individual impact; rather, we will measure our contribution to the collective work and shared goals of our partners throughout Los Angeles County. As we enter this next phase of collaboration, we look toward a future with “all hands on deck” across philanthropy, the City and County of Los Angeles, and the network of providers who all contribute to a future of Los Angeles without chronic homelessness.
Read our full strategy paper.