Photo Credit: Engin Akyurt
Nonprofit Management

Funding an Emergency Hotel Program

March 13, 2023

Social service providers utilize a myriad of funding sources to pay for emergency housing for their clients. The exact sources vary depending on the country, region, and specific service provider. Some potential sources include:

  1. Government Grants and Subsidies: Many governments offer funds specifically earmarked for emergency housing programs, especially for vulnerable populations such as the homeless, domestic violence survivors, or refugees.
  2. Federal and State Programs: In the U.S., programs such as the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program and the Continuum of Care (CoC) program provide funding for homeless services, including emergency shelter.
  3. Private Foundations and Grants: Many private organizations and foundations provide grants to social service agencies working in housing and homelessness.
  4. Local Municipal Funds: Some city or county governments have dedicated funds for social services, including emergency housing.
  5. Donations: Many social service agencies rely heavily on individual, corporate, or community donations. Some have annual fundraising events, campaigns, or partnership programs.
  6. Faith-Based Organizations: Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions may provide funding or in-kind donations, such as space for emergency shelter or volunteer support.
  7. Non-Profit Collaborations: Partnering with other non-profit organizations can also be a source of funds or resources, as organizations pool their resources to meet community needs.
  8. Rental Assistance Programs: These programs might be federally funded (like the Housing Choice Voucher program in the U.S.) or locally funded, and can be used to support individuals in need of emergency housing.
  9. Crowdfunding and Online Fundraisers: With the rise of platforms like GoFundMe and Kickstarter, some organizations or even individuals turn to the public to fund emergency housing needs. Learn more about our Safe Stays Credits program here to see how your supporters can help fund hotel rooms for your clients.
  10. Sales of Goods or Services: Some social service providers operate thrift stores, coffee shops, or other businesses whose profits go directly into funding their programs, including emergency housing.
  11. Contracted Services: In some regions, governmental bodies contract with non-profit organizations to provide specific services, including emergency housing.
  12. Social Impact Bonds: An innovative funding mechanism where private investors fund social programs upfront and are repaid by the government if the program achieves predetermined outcomes.
  13. Housing Trust Funds: These are established sources of funding for affordable housing, created by governments at various levels. They can be used for a range of housing needs, including emergency housing.
  14. Real Estate Transfer Taxes or Fees: Some localities might designate a portion of the fees collected from real estate transactions to support affordable housing initiatives.
  15. Dedicated Taxes: Some areas might have dedicated tax streams, like a property tax or sales tax increment, to fund affordable or emergency housing.
  16. Tax Credits: In the U.S., the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a significant driver of affordable housing development, though it's more commonly used for long-term affordable housing than for emergency housing.

Navigating these funding sources requires a deep understanding of local, state/provincial, and federal policies and regulations. Many social service providers hire grant writers or have development departments dedicated to securing funds.

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Funding an Emergency Hotel Program