YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs, which serves the largest number of homeless families in the state of Montana, today announced that they have received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund—the largest private gift in the Housing Programs’ history. Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to leading organizations on the frontlines that are employing compassionate, needle-moving work to help families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing with the services they require to achieve stability.
“The recent affordable housing crisis in Montana has led to a significant rise in family homelessness, and so this generous grant comes at the perfect time to help us meet the urgent need in our community,” said Cindy Weese, executive director of YWCA Missoula. “The flexibility of this grant will allow us to find creative solutions to the challenges faced by the families and individuals in our care, including a large number of children, for whom we will be able to help process the trauma of homelessness and find opportunities for a better future.”
This one-time grant will help YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs in its tireless work to support families as they reel from skyrocketing rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes. YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs plans to use the grant funds to help children, families and expectant mothers experiencing homelessness find safe and stable housing and support them with resources and care tailored to their individual needs, including mental health care, substance use treatment, legal aid and support for survivors of domestic violence.
YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by a group of national advisors who are leading advocates and experts on homelessness and service provision. National advisors brought expertise on housing justice, advancing racial equity and helping programs employ resources effectively to assist families out of homelessness.
Over the past five years, the Day 1 Families Fund has provided 170 grants totaling more than $520 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability. This year, the Fund issued a total of $123.45 million in grants to the following organizations: Carpenter’s Shelter; CATCH, Inc.; Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona; The Center for Women and Families; Changing Homelessness; Chapman Partnership; Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County; Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.; Community Services & Employment Training (CSET); Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO); Family Promise of Hawai’i; Family Promise of Northern New Castle County; Family Services of Tulare County; Flagstaff Shelter Services; Gateway180; Heartland Alliance; H.O.M.E. Inc.; Homeless Alliance; Hope House of Milwaukee; Housing First, Inc.; Housing Forward; HRDC; Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, Inc.; LA Family Housing; Mother Nation; Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Inc.; New Reach; Oglala Sioux Tribe; Partners for HOME; PATH; The Salvation Army, Denver Metro Area; Samish Indian Nation; San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness; Sojourner Truth House; Solo Por Hoy, Inc.; Start Corporation; Strategies to End Homelessness; The Wellspring; YWCA Cass Clay; and YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs.
The Bezos Day One Fund made a $2 billion commitment to focus on making meaningful and lasting impacts in two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help families experiencing homelessness, 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.