Basic Needs

Hunger, homelessness and the lack of affordable housing have all increased in tandem with our region’s dramatic growth. The demographics of persons experiencing homelessness and hunger reflect the stark inequity in our community. We focus on stable housing and healthy food as pillars of security, guided by research that demonstrates that meeting these basic needs allows children and adults to realize their potential.

Learn more (pdf) about the basic needs element and read about our specific strategies below. 

Address homelessness

While our region has seen unprecedented growth, it also has come along with a significant spike in homelessness. In addition, the demographics of people experiencing homelessness reflect the stark inequity in our community. We use a strategy of making homelessness a rare and one-time occurrence through investments in prevention, targeted services and rapid rehousing to address this issue. 

Strategy Approaches:

  1. Prioritize securing affordable permanent housing for homeless families and individuals
  2. Advocate for tenant protections and fund wraparound support services and case management to help people remain stably housed
  3. Support programs targeted to people who are chronically homeless

Affordable access to nutritious food

The impact of going without meals or being chronically hungry is profound. Chronically hungry children suffer from increased illness, exhibit developmental problems and struggle to get through the school day. We approach this important issue through a strategy of ensuring that affordable, nutritious food is readily accessible to all by funding efforts that grow and leverage existing food programs. 

Strategy Approaches:

  1. Foster collaboration among food programs and strengthen the operating capacity of food banks
  2. Increase and broaden access to healthy, fresh foods for low-income people and people living in “food deserts” through community-led solutions
  3. Fully leverage federal, state and local hunger alleviation programs, such as food stamps and summer meal programs for children, through outreach and training

Affordable housing

Our lack of affordable housing affects the entire region. Without stable housing, individuals and families can be thrown into a tailspin of uncertainty, stuck in survival mode In our Basic Needs element, we use a strategy of ensuring an ample supply of safe, convenient and affordable housing by supporting preservation, development and advocacy efforts.

Strategy Approaches:

  1. Preserve existing affordable housing and develop new units in neighborhoods near transit and amenities
  2. Support community-led advocacy that increases the choice and supply of affordable housing and prevents displacement
  3. Build community participation in developing policies that address housing equity

You can increase your impact by donating to our Basic Needs Fund and connecting with one of our philanthropic advisors to meet your giving goals.