ECHO Receives $2.5 Million Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant to Help End Homelessness for Families in Austin and Travis County
Fund grants $123.45 million to 40 nonprofits across the U.S. to move the needle on re-housing and supporting families experiencing homelessness
AUSTIN, Texas – (November 22, 2022): The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), the lead organization that plans and implements community-wide solutions to homelessness, today announced that it has received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund. 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.
“We’re thankful and encouraged by the collaboration we see in Austin among service providers, people with firsthand experience of homelessness, advocates, business leaders and elected officials to work toward ending homelessness in our community,” said Matt Mollica, ECHO’s executive director. “Gifts like this one from the Day 1 Families Fund provide much-needed flexible funding to help families and individuals work toward lasting solutions to end their homelessness.”
This one-time grant will help ECHO in its tireless work to support families as they reel from skyrocketing rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes. ECHO plans to use the grant funds to scale up options for people to move quickly off the street, including creating non-congregate shelter options and incentive structures to grow its system of private-market rental partners. These initiatives aim to provide immediate housing relief to hundreds of people who are already connected to rental subsidies and supportive services but can’t find a place to live.
ECHO 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.
“An opportunity like this gives families hope,” said Lyric Wardlow, ECHO’s community training manager. “Non-profits are often limited in the services they can provide, leaving those experiencing homelessness with little to no options. This funding strengthens organizations, offering families a clearer path to stability.”
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.
The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) is the Continuum of Care lead agency for Austin/Travis County and is responsible for operating the local Coordinated Entry and Homeless Management Information Systems. ECHO is the backbone of our community’s homelessness response system and works closely with nonprofit and government partners to plan and implement community-wide strategies to end homelessness in Austin and Travis County. www.austinecho.org/