Commitment is the fourth in a series of investments throughout National Poverty Awareness Month
January 25, 2019 (Arlington, Va.) – Stand Together announced today $1.65 million in commitments to continue its series of community-based investments during National Poverty Awareness Month. The latest grants will enable three Stand Together partner organizations – ACTS Housing, Back on My Feet and Mobile Loaves and Fishes – to increase their impact and help more people overcome barriers related to housing and homelessness.
“It’s unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of Americans experience homelessness. And many more lack access to affordable housing,” said Evan Feinberg, Executive Director of Stand Together. “Our goal isn’t just to put a roof over someone’s head – it’s to empower individuals with the tools and support they need to achieve self-sufficiency.”
On any given night, more than 550,000 people in the United States are experiencing homelessness. One third of these are sleeping in unsafe, unsheltered locations, such as on the street or in abandoned buildings. In 2018, homelessness rates increased for the second year in a row. Nearly a quarter of homeless individuals suffer from a severe mental illness, and a similar percentage suffer from alcohol or drug abuse. Left untreated, these issues present barriers for individuals to achieve long-term stability.
In addition to the situational and chronically homeless populations, millions more are at high risk of homelessness due to the lack of available affordable housing. More than 6 million people contribute more than 50 percent of their incomes to rent each month. This means any unexpected expense could lead them into homelessness.
Stand Together invests in organizations that recognize that individuals experiencing homelessness need more than just a home to break the cycle. Stand Together’s Catalysts approach housing and homelessness through a variety of models to help individuals achieve true and lasting transformation.
About Housing and Homelessness Catalyst Network members:
ACTS Housing (WI) $600,000 Stand Together Investment
ACTS Housing empowers individuals through home ownership and is transforming impoverished Milwaukee neighborhoods into vibrant communities. Through its education and training program, most homeowners purchase formerly vacant or vandalized foreclosures where rehab costs are less than demolition and new owners can save over $200 on monthly housing costs. Through its program, more than 125 families annually become home owners. ACTS has sold over 2,500 homes, conducted 850 rehab projects and invested more than $136 million into Milwaukee communities where the average mortgage is almost always lower than $500 per month.
Stand Together is partnering with ACTS to help them sustain operations in Milwaukee but also replicate this successful model throughout the Midwest starting in Beloit, Wisconsin. Ultimately, this investment will spark a strategic scale plan and further investments where it is estimated that thousands of low-income families in the Midwest will be able to live the dream of empowerment through homeownership.
Back on My Feet (NY, CA+) $550,000 Stand Together Investment
Back on My Feet aims to transform the way people view homelessness and to empower individuals through the confidence, self-esteem and strength found through running. Providing professional training and housing resources alongside a supportive community, Back on My Feet works with homeless individuals to restore independence and stability. Since 2008, Back on My Feet has helped more than 5,000 individuals secure jobs and homes with the help of more than 150,000 volunteers and over 2.1 million miles run.
Stand Together is working with Back on My Feet to build a movement to not only reduce the stigma of homelessness but to generate pathways for more people to obtain training and employment opportunities.
Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Community First! Village (TX) $500,000 Stand Together Investment
Mobile Loaves and Fishes is a nonprofit organization bringing prepared meals to the homeless men and women of Austin, Texas. In addition to their mobile meal service, Mobile Loaves and Fishes manages Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned community that provides permanent housing in the form of micro-homes and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. This transformative residential program provides multiple pathways toward self-sufficiency through social enterprises while also empowering the surrounding community to live in service with the homeless.
Stand Together is partnering with Mobile Loaves and Fishes to help expand and enhance their community, attracting many more people who are homeless that are in need of a loving community that creates ways for them to live a life with dignity. Community First! Village, when complete, will be able to house nearly 500 individuals, which is roughly 40 percent of Austin’s chronically homeless population.
These organizations are part of Stand Together’s growing Catalyst Network of more than 100 community-based organizations working to break the cycle of poverty in America across six issue areas: Addiction and Mental Health; Financial Empowerment and Entrepreneurship; Housing and Homelessness; In-Prison, Reentry and Second Chances; Workforce Development; and Youth and Education. Throughout National Poverty Awareness Month, Stand Together will be announcing additional investments in some of the most effective members of its Catalyst Network.