How Are Homeless Shelters Funded?

Some federal sources of funding for homeless shelters include McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, funds from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program and a range of HUD grants. A wide variety of private organizations also fund homeless shelters.

The McKinney-Vento grants are the largest source of homeless shelter funding available from the federal government. These funds focus on shelters for homeless families with children. The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program is a stimulus program created in 2009 with the goal of addressing homelessness resulting from the financial crash and subsequent recession. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also provides a range of grants that can be accessed by shelters offering support services.

Many private organizations run or make contributions to their own shelters. Some major charity organizations that run shelters throughout the U.S. include Goodwill, Catholic Charities, United Way, the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul. Local religious organizations are also actively involved with shelters, with many churches operating rescue missions that provide food and housing. Funding for these operations is accomplished through private donations, grants and fundraising outlets such as thrift stores that sell donated items. A range of private grants, such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grant, are also available.