Start Corporation, which currently operates one of the largest homeless shelters in Louisiana, today announced that it has received a $5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund—the largest private gift in the organization’s history. Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to leading organizations on the frontlines that are employing compassionate, needle-moving work to help families move from unsheltered homelessness and shelters to permanent housing with the services they require to achieve stability.
“This amazing gift will help Start Corporation to continue and enhance the work we are doing to integrate housing and healthcare for families,” said Casey Guidry, CEO of Start Corporation. “Our hope is that it will help us to continue to build strong communities and systems families need to be successful.”
This one-time grant will help Start Corporation in its tireless work to support families as they reel from skyrocketing rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes. Start Corporation plans to use the grant funds to pull three scattered programs across separate locations in New Orleans together into a single site, creating a one-stop center for strengthening families. The center will become a central resource hub for those experiencing homelessness to access housing services, medical and behavioral health care and wraparound support services. By centralizing services, Start Corporation will be able to increase capacity and provide more integrated services to homeless families.
Start Corporation was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by a group of national advisors who are leading advocates and experts on homelessness and service provision. National advisors brought expertise on housing justice, advancing racial equity and helping programs employ resources effectively to assist families out of homelessness.
Over the past five years, the Day 1 Families Fund has provided 170 grants totaling more than $520 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability. This year, the Fund issued a total of $123.45 million in grants to the following organizations: Carpenter’s Shelter; CATCH, Inc.; Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona; The Center for Women and Families; Changing Homelessness; Chapman Partnership; Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County; Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc.; Community Services & Employment Training (CSET); Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO); Family Promise of Hawai’i; Family Promise of Northern New Castle County; Family Services of Tulare County; Flagstaff Shelter Services; Gateway180; Heartland Alliance; H.O.M.E. Inc.; Homeless Alliance; Hope House of Milwaukee; Housing First, Inc.; Housing Forward; HRDC; Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, Inc.; LA Family Housing; Mother Nation; Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Inc.; New Reach; Oglala Sioux Tribe; Partners for HOME; PATH; The Salvation Army, Denver Metro Area; Samish Indian Nation; San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness; Sojourner Truth House; Solo Por Hoy, Inc.; Start Corporation; Strategies to End Homelessness; The Wellspring; YWCA Cass Clay; and YWCA Missoula’s Housing Programs.
Alycee Naquin, a homeless services team leader with Start Corporation, stated, “Start is passionate about working with families who are experiencing homelessness in our community. We recognize the potential impacts we can make on our community by assisting those who need help getting onto solid ground.”
The Bezos Day One Fund made a $2 billion commitment to focus on making meaningful and lasting impacts in two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help families experiencing homelessness, and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside. For more information, visit Bezos Day One Fund online.