ESCONDIDO – Interfaith Community Services is expanding its services after receiving a $5 million grant from Jeff Bezos’ philanthropic foundation to support homeless families.
The grant will support Interfaith’s mission through the launch of its Campaign to End Family Homelessness in North County, a long-term program to address family homelessness that entails working with one family at a time while quantifying larger, systemic problems.
Interfaith spokesperson Logan Goverman said the effort is projected to help 2,500 local families over the next five years.
“Some of the various ways we will achieve these efforts are expanding diversion, creating a new family diversion and outreach specialist, financial assistance for clients, adding a new landlord engagement specialist, creating an advisory board with lived experience, and provide pathways out of chronic homelessness and substance use into high quality, trauma-informed addiction treatment programs,” Goverman said.
A group of national advisers who are leading advocates and experts on serving the homeless chose Interfaith for the grant.
The Bezos Day One Families Fund is currently in its sixth round of grants targeting organizations and efforts addressing family homelessness. This year, a total of $117.55 million in grants was committed to Interfaith and 37 other organizations nationwide.
Amazon founder and billionaire Bezos launched his fund in 2018, pledging $2 billion to help families experiencing homelessness and creating a network of nonprofit preschools in low-income communities.
Interfaith intends to match the $5 million in grant funding as part of its service expansion.
“We are truly honored that the Bezos Day One Families Fund has entrusted Interfaith Community Services with this funding,” Interfaith CEO Greg Anglea said. “Offered as a dollar-for-dollar match for all other supporting gifts, this investment launches our campaign to end family homelessness in North County, one family at a time. Building off our portfolio of family-based programming, including the recent opening of our new family shelter, we are recruiting all community partners to end homelessness for local families with children.”
Though Interfaith recently opened its new family shelter on Ash Street, the organization temporarily moved its 49-bed Haven House homeless shelter into the 106-bed Turk Recuperative Care Center on Washington Avenue this year due to a lack of operating funds. According to Goverman, Haven House is still in the Turk Center while the organization continues to look for community and government partners.