Where did we start and how far have we come? What are our best bets for the future? On October 29 and 30 more than 200 local stakeholders, as well as key national advocates, gathered to reflect on these questions, course correct, and inform next steps in the Washington Families Fund Systems Initiative (later known as the Family Homelessness Systems Initiative).
The Initiative is a comprehensive systems change intervention focused on reducing family homelessness in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties by 50 percent by 2020. Initially launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this innovative, collective effort and its funding source, The Washington Families Fund, are now led by Building Changes.
Co-sponsors Building Changes and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation convened stakeholders to engage in what we’re learning from a multi-faceted longitudinal evaluation of the Initiative by national research partner Westat. Quantitative and qualitative findings confirm several of our core assumptions:
- Ending family homelessness will continue to require time, collective effort, and substantial resources. We are in this for the long haul.
- Candid evaluation and quality data are critical to our success.
- Insights and wisdom gained through regular feedback among partners benefit us all.
We also looked at emerging national trends. Advocates from the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Corporation for Supportive Housing provided insight into how local systems can better respond to emerging family needs.
Other highlights from the convening include: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes’ keynote address, “Everything I Know About Ending Homelessness, I Learned at Microsoft”; and videos that capture the voices of families moving out of homelessness and the partners on the ground collectively making changes to the system that helps them.
Building Changes would like to acknowledge all the partners: government agencies, providers, funders, advocates, and families who have participated in the Initiative to date. We hope the following resources continue to inform our collective work in strengthening families and communities as we change the system together.
- Convening Agenda
- Washington Families Fund Systems Initiative Evaluation: 2012 Interim Report
- CSH & NAEH Paper: Ending Family Homelessness: National Trends and Local System Responses
- Jeff Raikes' Keynote: “Everything I Know About Ending Homelessness, I Learned at Microsoft”
- Washington Families Fund Systems Initiative Data (presentation)
- Rapid Re-Housing and Transitional Conversion (presentation)
- Income and Jobs (presentation)
- Opportunities and Challenges of Housing Conversion (presentation)
- Open Doors (video)
- In Our Own Voices: Ending Homelessness in Washington State (video)
Related Blog Posts
- What Microsoft Can Teach Us About Ending Homelessness (Jeff Raikes, Impatient Optimists, 10/29/12)
- Our “Aha” Moments in Tracking Washington Families Fund Data (Alice Shobe, Impatient Optimists, 11/14/12)
- Taking Risks and Learning from Systems Change Work in Washington State to End Family Homelessness (Jennifer Ho, USICH Blog, 11/7/12)
- Lessons on Ending Homelessness From 200 Smart Thinkers (David Wertheimer, Impatient Optimists, 11/6/12)
- Mindy’s Story: A Journey of Homelessness (Melinda Woods, Impatient Optimists, 11/4/12)
- Election-weary Politicians Can Work Together to Combat Homelessness (Lance Dickie, Seattle Times, 11/9/12)