Why This National Funder Is Giving a Boost to L.A.'s Fight Against Homelessness

At IP, we've given a lot of attention to the Kresge Foundation's leading role in creative placemaking, which leverages arts and culture investments to strengthen urban communities. But this funder works in cities in other ways, too, and that work extends to Los Angeles.

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Kresge recently announced that it was investing to combat homelessness in L.A., joining a group of local players who've been mobilzing new resources against this problem through the Accelerating Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative. Kresge’s support comes in the form of a $1 million grant and a $6 million low-cost loan.

Other funders in this collaboration include the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, and the California Community Foundation. The City of Los Angeles plays a big role in this effort, too. In total, the partners have put at least $63 million into the fund so far with a goal of creating 1,000 permanent housing units per year.

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Kresge is the latest funding partner to join this multi-sector effort, but it’s a big one that brings a lot of power and money to the table. Kresge’s money is also helping the California Community Foundation raise donor-advised funds to build the funding pool even more.

The timing couldn't be better. As we've reported, there is a lot of momentum around building in supportive housing in L.A., right now. Funders like Hilton have led the way, but the biggest money has come from government, and more could be on the way. When Los Angeles voters hit the polls in November, they’ll have a chance to vote for Proposition HHH, which is a $1.2 billion effort to provide long-term funding for new housing for the homeless.

Homelessness is a famously daunting issue, but there's a lot of optimism right now around the idea of supportive housing, and that's clear in Kresge's commitment.

“By blending the work of health and human services, permanent supportive housing provides services while also working to address the systematic challenges that lead to homelessness. We hope that other cities experiencing similar pressures will be able to learn from this collaborative,” said David Fukuzawa, managing director of Kresge’s Health and Human Services Programs.