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Leveraging community, faith-based resources to help homeless populations

This report was created and originally published by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, May 2017.

The goal of ending homelessness in the U.S. is one that requires partnerships and alliances across governments, nonprofits and community organizations. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports on the role that faith-based organizations can play in efforts to reduce the numbers of homeless individuals nationwide.

Faith-based organizations serve as the backbone of the emergency shelter system in this country—operating nearly 30 percent of emergency shelter beds for families and single adults at the national level. They play a critical role in delivering services to people in crisis, and significantly fewer households experiencing homelessness would be served and more would remain in crisis without faith-based organizations. Homelessness cannot be ended without their efforts.

This report examines the unique contribution of faith-based organizations to homeless services. It also presents the perspectives of faith-based organizations on the most pressing gaps in resources and efforts needed to end homelessness, their role in local governance and systemic planning, and how a national shift to a Housing First philosophy in serving households has impacted their work.

The report looks at the following

  • Emergency shelters. Faith-based organizations provide emergency shelter and intervention services to the homeless in the U.S.
  • Targeted efforts. These organizations understand where shortages and services for the homeless are needed, with an understanding of which delivery mechanisms are most successful.
  • Leveraging resources. Faith-based providers also play a role in local planning and Continuum of Care (CoC) for the homeless, and also have the potential to leverage resources and partnerships that are currently underutilized.
  • Weaknesses. Because of their role and position in communities, many faith-based organizations understand how to best address weaknesses in services and facilities for the homeless.
  • Addressing policies. This report also discusses ways to address CoC and coordinated entry programs.

The full report, produced The National Alliance to End Homelessness, provides more detail on the different ways nonprofit organizations can create partnerships with faith-based providers to provide more effective and targeted services for the homeless people at the community level.

Faith-Based Organizations: Fundamental Partners In Ending Homelessness



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