Better Homes Fund

New Pa

The Better Homes Fund (TBHF) was started through an unusual partnership. In 1987, David Jordan, then editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, met in Boston with Ellen L. Bassuk, M.D., Associate Professsor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Both were concerned about the growing number of homeless families in America, and wanted to do something about the issue.

Dr. Bassuk had conducted ground-breaking research in the mid-1980s documenting the devastating effects of homelessness on mothers and children. Mr. Jordan believed that Better Homes and Gardens, which reaches 36 million American adults each month, had the power to educate the public about this emerging tragedy.

In 1988, Dr. Bassuk and Mr. Jordan joined forces to start The Better Homes Fund, orginally established as a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization and non-endowed public charity. Over the past decade, The Better Homes Fund has formed a network of caring people and organizations across the nation. All of our members - individual donors, corporate or private foundations, professional caregivers or national policymakers- share a common goal: preventing the next generation from becoming homeless.

Structure

The work of The Better Homes Fund is carried out by our three divisions: research; program development and support, and policy and public education.

RESEARCH AND EVALUATION: Activities pinpoint the greatest areas of need and help clinicians, providers, and philanthropists design programs for the nation's most vulnerable families. TBHF conducts research, evaluates the effectiveness of programs and provides this information in a variety of formats, making us the nation's primary resource on homeless families and children.

PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT: TBHF designs and supports innovative programs that help homeless families nationwide. Since 1988 TBHF has awarded 250 grants in 36 states totaling $5.5 million. This funding has made critical services available to thousands of extremely poor families nationwide: day care and preschool programs for children, case management services, family support programs, family violence initiatives, health care programs and programs to help families remain in permanent housing. Equally important to creating services for and with the involvement of homeless families, is the need to enhance the capacity of communities to respond to the needs of poor and homeless families.

TBHF provides technical and organizational support to assist each grantee in establishing networks, collaborations and formal affiliations in their communities that empower families and assist integration of services for poor and homeless families into mainstream social services, ensuring that programs are sustained after TBHF funding ends.

POLICY AND PUBLIC EDUCATION: TBHF is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of homeless families through informing public policy and public education. TBHF broadly disseminates knowledge gained from its research and program activities to policy makers providers, funders, advocates, and media across the country. These public education efforts have increased awareness of the needs of homeless families and improved the effectiveness of policies, programs, and services in countless communities. For example, TBHF's research has been credited with changing public officials' perceptions of the needs of welfare mothers who are victims of violence in Massachusetts and, as a result, new regulations will help keep thousands of women and children safe.