9 Best Charities That Support Homeless Families (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities That Support Homeless Families (Complete 2022 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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Nobody should live without safe shelter. Yet, 7 out of every 10,000 families in the US are homeless. And globally, about 2% of the population lacks adequate housing. Many nonprofit organizations have responded to the homeless crisis by advocating for and helping families without homes. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that support homeless families?

The best charities that support homeless families are Family Promise and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Charities like Abode Services and Coalition for the Homeless provide temporary and permanent housing solutions to homeless families and promote their financial stability.

Whether you want to address the lack of affordable housing, support homeless families, or promote the economic stability of low-income families, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support homeless families are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Support Homeless Families Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They offer a variety of housing options, such as eviction prevention programs, affordable housing, and transitional housing to end homelessness among families.

Many of these charities provide housing and support services to low-income families while others advocate for public policies to provide adequate shelter and affordable homes for homeless families. Yet, they all share the same goal of ending homelessness.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Support Homeless Families

Below are our favorite charities that support homeless families (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

  • Family Promise
  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
  • Abode Services
  • Coalition for the Homeless
  • Save the Family
  • DePaul USA
  • Building Changes
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Streetwise

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Family Promise: Building Communities, Strengthening Lives.

Family Promise was founded in 1988 by Karen Olson to provide hospitality to homeless families. Today, the charity is a national network working to eradicate homelessness and promote the economic stability of low-income families.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Family Promise has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Our mission is to help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.”

Family Promise

What they do: Family Promise offers a wide range of services to support homeless families in the US. For example, they provide a variety of emergency housing solutions to give families a place where they feel safe and supported until they find permanent housing. They also support families at risk of homelessness by paying rent in arrears, security deposits, and by mediating between landlords and tenants. In addition, they offer stabilization programs such as tenancy training, educational initiatives, and technology support to help families maintain their housing.

What they’ve achieved: Today, Family Promise is a national organization providing housing support to more than 1 million family members in 200 communities through their network of 200,000 volunteers across 43 states. Every year, they provide temporary housing, meals, and services to over 125,000 family members. 62% of the families they served in their shelters secured permanent housing, while 7% secured transitional housing, and 12% secured shared housing.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Family Promise through their website. You can also support them by becoming a volunteer or partner. In addition, you can create a fundraiser for them.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless: Fighting for the Human Right to Housing

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1980 by William “Les” Brown to support vulnerable families and cater to their housing needs. Today, they continue to advocate for public policies to end homelessness.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness, because we believe housing is a human right in a just society.”

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

What they do: The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless offers outreach programs to educate homeless people on the housing options available to them, such as Medicaid and free transportation services to and from school for vulnerable children. They also train those interested in becoming community leaders to speak at schools and religious groups about their experiences. In addition, the charity advocates for the creation of public policies that support affordable housing and shelter preservation for the homeless. They also provide free legal aid services to families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has used community organizing, advocacy, and legal aid to push for measures that help homeless families. For instance, as a result of their advocacy for Homeless Prevention Grants in Illinois, the state now supports 118,023 homeless families. Also, further advocacy efforts in Illinois resulted in a significant increase of $4.1 million in prevention funding within one year. In addition, their legal aid program provided free legal aid to 830 students and youth and 80 homeless people.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless directly through their website. You can also support the charity by joining their Justice Circle.

Abode Services: Ending Homelessness by Putting Housing First

Abode Services was established in 1989 by a group of people to address the growing problem of homelessness in the Tri-City Area. Since their founding, they have become a national organization committed to ending homelessness.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Abode Services has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Abode Services’ mission is to end homelessness by assisting low-income, un-housed people, including those with special needs, to secure stable, supportive housing; and to be advocates for the removal of the causes of homelessness.”

Abode Services

What they do: Abode Services addresses housing and homelessness challenges in the US by partnering with local shelters to help families gain access to employment support and housing opportunities. They also provide short-term rental assistance, housing placement, and supportive services to help vulnerable people, including the elderly and people exiting the criminal justice system, obtain housing quickly. In addition, they operate a homelessness-prevention program targeted at providing housing solutions to young adults exiting the foster care system. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Abode Services has continued to help homeless families find permanent housing. For example, within the last 10 years, they have placed 16,391 individuals into permanent housing. Also, in 2021, their permanent supportive housing program successfully rehoused 86% of the participants. They also assisted 14,714 adults and children, with 22% of the households they served being families. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Abode Services through their website. You can also support them by volunteering at their shelter.

Coalition for the Homeless: Housing Is a Human Right

The Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1981 by Ellen Baxter and Kim Hopper to give impoverished people access to adequate shelter. Today, the charity provides affordable housing and lifesaving services to homeless people in New York.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Coalition for the Homeless has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food, and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society.”

Coalition for the Homeless

What they do: The Coalition for the Homeless offers housing programs to individuals and families in New York to give them the stability of permanent housing. For example, their Bridge Building program provides safe and affordable one and two-bedroom apartments to homeless mothers and their children. In addition, their Scattered Site Housing Program provides single adults and families living with HIV/AIDS with safe, permanent housing. Through their Grand Central Food Program, they also deliver healthy meals and warm clothing to homeless New Yorkers every night.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Coalition for the Homeless has supported families and individuals suffering in extreme poverty. For example, in 2021, they provided stable, permanent housing to 169 residents and ensured their health and well-being by conducting regular case management check-ins. That same year, their eviction prevention program saved 598 families from becoming homeless by providing one-time rental arrears grants. In addition, their Grand Central Food Program provided 368,500 meals, 75,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and thousands of prepaid cash cards for emergency essentials.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Coalition for the Homeless through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or participating in their Back to School project.

Save the Family: Because Everyone Should Have a Home

Save the Family was founded in 1988 to end family homelessness in Maricopa County in Arizona. Today, they continue to provide housing and supportive services to homeless and impoverished families.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Save the Family has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We work to equip families to overcome underlying issues that lead to homelessness – ensuring stable homes, safe children and strong families because of our efforts.”

Save the Family

What they do: Save the Family provides housing programs and eviction prevention services to homeless families to ensure their long-term housing. They also help families achieve financial stability by providing supportive services including budgeting classes, parenting classes, and access to in-house mental health and substance abuse support. In addition, they help children navigate through the trauma caused by homelessness and support families by offering drop-in daycare, after-school programs, and summer camps annually. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Save the Family has consistently provided housing support to vulnerable families in the US. 90% of the families they have helped have obtained permanent housing. Furthermore, 91% of the families that participated in their programs obtained regular access to healthcare, and 70% of them have maintained or increased their incomes. In addition, the charity reached 640 children through their children’s services.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Save the Family through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or starting a fundraiser.

DePaul USA: Homelessness Has No Place

DePaul USA was founded in 2009 as an affiliate of the DePaul International Group to end homelessness and help those affected by it. Today, they operate numerous housing and support programs across the US. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: DePaul USA scores 100 out of 100 for Financial and Transparency ratings from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Depaul helps individuals who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.”

DePaul USA

What they do: DePaul USA operates permanent housing, temporary housing, and affordable housing programs for individuals and families dealing with homelessness. For example, they provide houses and apartments below-market rents for low-income or disabled men and women. They also run a free medical clinic to provide homeless people with access to healthcare. In addition, through their DAX program, they offer housing opportunities, stipends, transportation, and educational support to college students experiencing homelessness. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, DePaul USA has remained committed to eliminating homelessness in the US. For example, in 2018, they provided 418 homeless people with housing. They also provided free healthcare services to 3,971 people, including homeless families. In addition, their emergency services resource centers helped over 100 people transition into permanent housing and provided nearly 70,000 meals and 20,000 hygiene services to homeless people.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to DePaul USA through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or partnering with them to end homelessness.

Building Changes: Preventing Homelessness

Building Changes was founded in 1993 to address homelessness in Washington and provide support to homeless families, children, and youth. Today, the charity provides homeless people with safe and stable housing.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Building Changes has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Building Changes advances equitable responses to homelessness in Washington State, with a focus on children, youth, and families and the systems that serve them.”

Building Changes

What they do: Building Changes influences policies and advocates for adequate homeless and housing supportive systems in Washington. For example, through their Washington Youth and Families Fund, they support programs that improve housing stability for families and help them recover from the trauma caused by homelessness. They also provide training and education to schools, housing providers, and communities to create resources that address the unique needs of students experiencing homelessness in Washington.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Building Changes has remained dedicated to preventing homelessness in Washington. For example, they have developed research-based practices and recommendations to help schools and districts support students and families experiencing homelessness. They also collaborated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to design and implement 79 high-performing homeless systems and projects totaling $29.8 million in Washington. In addition, they have awarded $62.7 million in funding to 122 grantees towards innovative housing interventions that support homeless youth and families across 26 counties.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Building Changes through their website. You can also assist the charity by supporting key legislation in Washington to prevent homelessness.

National Alliance to End Homelessness: Preventing and Ending Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness was founded in 1983 by a group of concerned citizens to meet the emergency needs of homeless people in the US. Today, they are a national network working to provide more permanent housing solutions to prevent homelessness in the US.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The National Alliance to End Homelessness has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We use research and data to find solutions to homelessness; we work with federal and local partners to create a solid base of policy and resources that support those solutions; and then we help communities implement them.”

National Alliance to End Homelessness

What they do: The National Alliance to End Homelessness promotes policy development and implementation at local, state, and federal levels to end homelessness. They also research disseminate info about homelessness prevention measures through their Homelessness Research Institute. In addition, their Center for Capacity Building offers technical assistance and training to cities, counties, states, and other nonprofits to help them establish programs that are directed at ending homelessness.

What they’ve achieved: The National Alliance to End Homelessness has a consistent history of advocating for the rights of the homeless. For example, in 2000, they influenced the federal government and Congress in the US to adopt their strategy for ending homelessness. This action resulted in substantial policy shifts in housing provision, data collection, and systems for managing homelessness. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the National Alliance to End Homelessness through their website. You can also support them by joining their Support FY23 Budget Requests for Homelessness campaign.

Streetwise: Empowering People to Work

Streetwise was founded in 1992 by Judd Lofchie to help homeless people earn an income by selling newspapers. Today, they provide marginalized people with employment opportunities to support themselves and their families.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Streetwise scores 94 out of 100 for financial and transparency ratings from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“StreetWise exists to elevate marginalized voices and provide opportunities for individuals to earn an income with dignity. Anyone who wants to work has the opportunity to move themselves out of crisis. StreetWise provides “a hand up, not a handout.”

Streetwise

What they do: Streetwise assists homeless and disabled people, veterans, and those with barriers to employment opportunities, by providing access to stable work. They do this through their STEP to Employment program which prepares homeless people for employment through skill-building and coaching. The charity also provides them with work opportunities, such as becoming a Streetwise magazine vendor. Furthermore, they provide the vendors with training, ongoing support, and incentives to grow their own microbusinesses. In addition, they support homeless people with free meals, warm clothing, and toiletries.

What they’ve achieved: When Streetwise was first established, they provided steady income for over 350 homeless people and sold more than 60,000 issues of the StreetWise magazine within their first 5 weeks. Today, they support 115 active vendors, including homeless people, selling 13,000 magazines monthly at $3.00. Each vendor takes $2.00 for every magazine they sell plus tips to support their families.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Streetwise through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or providing items that go directly to their vendors and job seekers.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that support homeless families. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to homeless families – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

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Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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