New report explores how philanthropy helped tackle homelessness in Los Angeles


Alliance magazine


The USC Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy has released Scaling Up: How Philanthropy Helped Unlock $4.7 Billion to Tackle Homelessness in Los Angeles, a case study examining how philanthropic leadership has positioned Los Angeles to better grapple with the challenge of homelessness. The report explores philanthropy’s role in building a field that could respond to a mounting homelessness crisis and a platform for collaborative action that led two voter-approved ballot measures in 2016 and 2017.

The first proposition approved by voters in 2016, is a $1.2 billion bond to fund housing for homeless people and people at risk of becoming homeless and to fund facilities that provide mental health care, addiction treatment, and other services. The second, approved by county voters in 2017, will raise an estimated $3.5 billion over ten-years through additional sales tax for supportive services, rental subsidies and prevention programmes for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

This work will build on The United Way of Greater Los Angeles helping to create and manage Home For Good, an initiative launched in 2010 that brought leaders from philanthropy, government and business together to align systems, engage the community and couple the more flexible resources of philanthropy with the more substantial resources of government.

‘Home For Good has become an essential platform for leaders from different sectors to really understand and engage with each other on a deeper level about what is needed to address the homelessness crisis,’ said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. ‘That investment is creating new opportunities for us now as we work with the city and county to implement Proposition HHH and Measure H.’

This report emphasises the value of philanthropy engaging with government, particularly in addressing problems such as homelessness.

‘Approval of Proposition HHH and Measure H in 2016 and 2017 punctuates an important chapter in a series of efforts that continue to this day around homelessness,’ said James M. Ferris, Director of The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy and the study co-author. ‘As leaders continue to face new challenge in ending homelessness in Los Angeles, they should be proud of what they were able to accomplish together and what it portends for the ultimate intended impact of the two measures.’

Download and read the full report here.

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