Los Angeles Business Journal

Business Task Force Advances Services for Homeless

OP-ED By JERRY NEUMAN and RENEE WHITE FRASER Monday, January 30, 2012

The Home for Good Funders Collaborative is the first of its kind in our region. The concept is simple: The collaborative aligns housing seed money from all sources – foundations, government agencies and corporate contributions. In the coming months, the collaborative will release a request for proposals to create permanent supportive housing, inaugurating a one-stop process for housing providers.

Where those who develop permanent supportive housing currently careen from one funding source to another, all with different applications and calendars, they will soon have a consolidated path to pooled sources. For new development projects, this collaboration has the potential to ultimately decrease the housing production process from five years to two. 

More importantly, the collaborative will greatly enhance the power of the funds it disburses. The housing generated by the sum total from the funding collaborative will be far, far greater than those of each participant’s contribution can ever be.

The spirit of cooperation that has infused the task force’s campaign is evident in the collaborative. Government agencies have committed funds to the process. So have foundations including the Hilton Foundation, with a challenge grant for $1 million of the $5 million the collaborative seeks in its first year. Several high-net-worth individuals have made substantial contributions and thousands of everyday folks brought in more than $500,000 with their participation in United Way’s Home Walk in November.

The collaborative represents the ideal path for corporate and business participation in the Home for Good campaign. It is, after all, good for business: Eliminating chronic and veteran homelessness will improve the business climate, save tax dollars, and create incentives for growth and expansion. 

We all have a stake in reducing, rather than merely managing, the nation’s largest homeless population, but few have a larger stake than the business community. From tourism to entertainment and restaurants to retail, business gets better where homelessness is sensibly and efficiently addressed.

The Home for Good Funders Collaborative offers a sound and practical way for the business community to join virtually everyone else in our region, all working to implement Home for Good together. It will also deliver a gift that is beyond value, replacing the ravages of life on the street with a home.

Jerry Neuman is an attorney with Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. Renee White Fraser is president of Fraser Communications. They co-chair the Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness, a joint project of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. 

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