Community Foundation of Greater Washington Leads Effort to End Homelessness in D.C.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is leading an effort to help address homelessness in the nation’s capital.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is leading an effort to help address homelessness in the nation’s capital.

In Washington, D.C., more than 6,000 people sleep without adequate shelter any night of the year.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation wants to change that.

The foundation this month announced a new partnership with the District of Columbia that seeks to end homelessness in the nation’s capital.

“We believe that homelessness is solvable, and we also believe that our community is stronger when we bring everyone along,” said Greater Washington Community Foundation chief executive Bruce McNamer said in a statement announcing the effort, called The Partnership to End Homelessness.

He added that the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, and her administration had “established a strong foundation, but private sector engagement will be critical to long-term success.”

To launch the effort, the foundation has committed $5 million in a combined investment fund to launch an impact investment option for donors and others.

Working with the city’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, the foundation aims to:

  • Increase the supply and availability of affordable housing and remove related barriers to housing stability;

  • Aid nonprofits in their ability to help end homelessness;

  • Change public understanding of homelessness “through education, community mobilization and advocacy efforts”;

  • Coordinate efforts between the public and private sectors to complement the city’s funding and programs.

The move comes at a critical time in our nation’s capital city. Washington has seen tremendous economic growth over the past decade — but that growth has largely benefited only a segment of the city’s population. Rising real estate costs and stagnating incomes have made it extremely difficult for working-class families and others to afford living in the District.

Minimum-wage workers, for instance, would have to work three full -time jobs in order to be able to afford an apartment for your family.

This issue, in turn, has led to growing homeless population.

The Partnership to End Homelessness is working to address this issue on a number of levels — through grantmaking, fundraising, and impact investing.

As part of the effort, the foundation hopes to raise a total of $10 million in investments to help the Enterprise Community Loan Fund build and help increase the availability and production of affordable housing in the region.

“Homelessness and housing insecurity have not always existed the way they do today,” McNamer added. “We believe that homelessness is solvable, and we also believe that our community is stronger when we bring everyone along.”


Amanda Palleschi