Day 1 Families Fund grants $98.5 million to 32 nonprofits assisting families experiencing homelessness.

Anchorage — Catholic Social Services Alaska (CSS), one of Alaska’s largest social services agencies and provider of homeless services, today announced that it has been selected to receive a $5 million grant from the Day 1 Families Fund.

“This grant will make an enormous impact on our community by expanding the work Catholic Social Services does every day to support families in homelessness to transition to permanent stability,” said Lisa Aquino, executive director of CSS. “We believe that this funding will propel us, together with our partners, to achieve functional zero in family homelessness in the Anchorage area.”

This one-time grant, awarded to organizations moving the needle on family homelessness, will allow CSS to expand its proven work happening now in Anchorage to rapidly re-house families who are experiencing homelessness. This work began with visionary funding from Providence, and recent new funding from ConocoPhillips and others to focus on families. Additionally, these funds will be used to start a pilot diversion program for families in Anchorage. Diversion programs help people seeking shelter identify immediate alternate housing arrangements, often on the phone or before they even enter shelter. These programs focus on eliminating the footprint in the system and keeping families who just need a little support right now, get it and not have to come to the shelter. 

With the expanded rapid re-housing and new diversion options, this incredible investment from the Day 1 Families Fund will support experts in housing case management at CSS to determine, on a case-by-case basis, the most appropriate level of assistance for each family. Ultimately, this will result in a higher level of success for families. Thanks to the Day 1 Families Fund, CSS can both expand its evidence-based practices to reach more vulnerable people and explore innovative solutions to truly make a difference in the lives of this and future generations. 

CSS is one of 32 nonprofits across the U.S. to receive the second annual Day 1 Families Fund grants, as part of a broad investment by the Day 1 Families Fund to help solve family homelessness. The Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $98.5 million in grants this year. The fund worked with an advisory board of homelessness advocates and experts who identified and invited organizations to submit grant proposals to support their efforts to address homelessness. This year, the grant recipients from around the country include: Bethany House Services, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, Catholic Social Services Alaska, Coburn Place, Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Covenant House, Family Gateway, FamilyAid Boston, ForKids, Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, HOPE Services Hawaii, HopeWorks, Interim Community Development Association, Lafayette Transitional Housing Center, Mary’s Place Seattle, MIFA, Our Family Services, Pathways of Hope, St. Joseph Center, St. Joseph’s Villa, St. Stephen’s Human Services, St. Vincent de Paul, The Road Home, The Road Home Dane County, The Whole Child, UNITY Of Greater New Orleans, Upward Bound House, Welcome House of Northern Kentucky, West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, and YWCA Columbus.

“Clare House is our safe place; I’m very comfortable here,” said Shanna, who stayed at Clare House, a CSS shelter and now is rehoused. “I don’t know where we would be without the help of Catholic Social Services. I’m so grateful that they are here.”

The Bezos Day One Fund was launched in 2018 with a commitment of $2 billion and a focus on two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.

For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund

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