Housing & Homelessness

In the Housing and Homelessness Programme, we focus on preventing homelessness by funding sustainable solutions that improve the economic and social wellbeing of marginalised youth, adults and families. We have three priorities: promoting economic self-sufficiency; increasing the availability and supply of affordable housing; and preventing homelessness.

Grants within the programme are wide-ranging in size. We partner with organisations working both nationally and locally in Boston, New York and Philadelphia in the United States and in London, Belfast, South Wales, Glasgow and Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Within each location, we aim to fund projects relevant to the three priorities. In addition, we have adopted specific objectives that recognise particular issues in some of the localities where we make grants.

In the Housing and Homelessness Programme, we partner with organisations working on a national basis and also those with a local focus within the programme geographies. Grants within the programme are wide-ranging in size. Like other Oak programmes, we target the most vulnerable groups, promote long-term outcomes and adhere to Oak Foundation's overall principles.

Priority Areas
We have three core priorities:

To increase economic self-sufficiency by:

  • equipping homeless people and those at risk of homelessness with skills to move towards economic stability, enabling them to overcome barriers to employment and encouraging sustained employment;
  • increasing the impact of entitlements and defending them against cuts;  
  • maximising income through wage growth and enabling people to secure and maintain their entitlements; and
  • challenging pricing mechanisms that disadvantage low-income households.

To improve the supply of low-income housing and housing opportunity by:

  • identifying and exploring enhancements to systems for developing and financing low-income housing;
  • providing a catalyst for the development of low-income housing;
  • defending existing low-income housing and encouraging the re-use of vacant housing; and
  • increasing the social value of existing or planned low-income housing by enhancing its management.

To prevent homelessness by:

  • advocating for people facing a housing crisis, who are living in public housing, the private rented sector or who are low-income homeowners;
  • identifying groups who are at greater risk of homelessness and encouraging early intervention and support; and
  • challenging structures and policies that compromise people's ability to achieve housing stability.

 

City objectives

Within each location in which the programme funds, we aim to fund projects relevant to the three priorities. In addition, we have adopted specific objectives that recognise particular issues in some of the localities where we make grants.

Boston – Reducing family homelessness by supporting shelter and other service providers to help homeless families in a timely, effective and efficient way.
Our grant-making currently focuses on:

  • improving the choices available to and capacity of low income, vulnerable families at risk of homelessness; and
  • ensuring the system responds to the needs of homeless families, particularly young homeless families requiring intensive support to develop the skills to move away from homelessness permanently.

Northern Ireland – Reducing fuel poverty.
Our grant-making currently focuses on:

  • enhancing the targeting of existing resources to combat fuel poverty;
  • providing the bridge between different sources of funding; and
  • supporting the development of lower pricing for low-income households.

New York and London – Supporting services that enable military veterans who
are homeless and/or have experience of the criminal justice system to stay housed and crimefree.

Our grant-making currently focuses on:

  • learning about the combined experience of military service, homelessness and offending;
  • creating partnerships that break down sector barriers; and
  • ensuring individuals are not excluded from services.

Philadelphia – Enhancing repair programmes for privately owned low-income
housing.

Our grant-making currently focuses on:

  • carrying out ‘whole house’ repairs;
  • strengthening neighbourhoods by taking a holistic approach to repairing homes in concentrated areas; and
  • combining funding to increase impact.

Our geographic focus is currently on: Boston, New York and Philadelphia in the United States; London, Belfast, South Wales, Glasgow and Birmingham in the United Kingdom; and Ranchi and Kolkata in India. Projects which have national impact in the US and the UK are also funded.

We fund initiatives that have an impact on:

Individuals – by improving the quality of life and housing opportunities for groups of individuals;

The wider community (sometimes defined by geography or the target group) – by having an impact that goes beyond the direct beneficiaries of a project (i.e., by encouraging the replication of proven solutions and amplifying the collective voice of homeless people).

Organisations – by enabling organisations to develop financial stability, create a robust infrastructure and address identified weaknesses.

Society – by changing systems and services (e.g., securing mainstream funding for new and proven solutions or removing structural and cultural barriers that hamper individual success). Projects funded include those that mobilise communities, but also those that persuade, negotiate and demonstrate the efficacy of change.

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