Homelessness Response System Overview
Our Homelessness Response System is a coalition of partners working toward one purpose: ending homelessness in our community. More than 60 partner organizations agree to share data and coordinate resources as part of the coalition, and we work with larger grassroots support networks to deliver help where it’s most needed. The ultimate goal is to build a rehousing system at the right scale to reconnect everyone who needs it to stable housing quickly, equitably, and permanently.
About the HRS
The Homelessness Response System (HRS) is the term for the collection of organizations and individuals working collaboratively to reconnect people with stable places to live paired with supportive services. This group includes service providers, people with firsthand experience of homelessness, government agencies, elected officials, philanthropists, property owners, business leaders, and everyone who contributes in some way to our community’s rehousing system.
When someone loses their housing, the HRS exists to:
- Find that person as quickly as possible to offer immediate resources, like shelter and healthcare
- Assess the person’s long-term wants and needs for a place to live and supportive services
- Connect the person with a place to live and individualized supportive services that meets their wants and needs to remain stably housed long-term
Each organization and individual working in our HRS has a role to play in ending homelessness in our community.
How it’s funded
Organizations in the HRS are funded in a lot of different ways. They break down into three main categories:
Federal, state, and local government grants
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funds to communities to end homelessness through a number of programs, including the Continuum of Care (CoC), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and HOME Investment Partnerships programs.
Some federal funds are also provided to states to distribute to communities. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) is the primary agency responsible for distributing
homelessness services funds to municipalities across the state. Texas also funds some additional programs, like the Homeless Housing and Services Program (HHSP) and the Ending Homelessness Fund that solicits donations on vehicle registration and renewal applications.
The City of Austin and Travis County contribute to our HRS through their annual budgeting processes. Both municipalities also dedicated large portions of one-time federal aid through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to Finding Home ATX, the group responsible for leading the collaborative expansion of our HRS.
Charitable foundations regularly offer grant opportunities to nonprofits working to end homelessness. Some larger nonprofits employ full-time grant-writers to seek and apply for grants, usually for specific programs or purposes, to ensure a steady revenue stream. Some foundations, rather than conducting a competitive grant process, contribute directly to organizations whose missions align with their own.
Whether it’s a few dollars or a few hundred, nonprofits rely on individual donations to operate. These are often the most flexible funds an organization has access to, as grants often specify how money can and can’t be spent. These unrestricted donations can support anything from supplies to salaries.
How we end homelessness