The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day One Families Fund Grant, the largest private gift in the organization’s history.
The coalition is one of 38 nonprofits nationwide to receive money to reduce family homelessness, which is currently at an all-time high in Tarrant County. The one-time grant will be used toward the agency’s diversion efforts, housing navigation and support services for families experiencing homelessness, according to a news release.
Lauren King, executive director of the Homeless Coalition, said the funding comes at a critical time for the organization and its partner agencies who are working overtime to tackle a growing family homelessness crisis.
“We’re really grappling with the fact that we have more families and individuals becoming homeless and our resources going down significantly,” King said. “For us, the timing of this grant is really, really impactful…”
Tarrant County Homeless Coalition has seen 318 families become homeless in 2023, a major increase from previous years. Nationally, children and adults in families experiencing homelessness represent more than a quarter of the homeless population.
According to the agency, this is the largest single private grant gifted to the coalition and will help tackle some projects that previously were not feasible due to a lack of resources. This awarded grant will supplement the $50 million in capital funding already secured from local municipalities to build housing for people exiting homelessness.
The additional funding from the Bezos grant will allow the coalition to offer assistance to some families dealing with complex situations, King said.
“Typically, we’re really focused on housing and so being able to expand that and potentially bring in some other partners who can provide those support services is exciting and I think will just help families be more successful,” she said.
The Bezos Day One Families Fund Grant was launched in 2018 with a $2 billion commitment to funding existing nonprofits that help families experiencing homelessness and creating a network of new nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities.
A preschool location is being considered in a south Fort Worth apartment complex.
In January, the homeless coalition will put out a request for proposals to find partners to work on diversion, housing navigation and support services for families. The RFP is expected to be awarded in February.
More information about the process will be posted on the Funding Opportunities section of the homeless coalition’s website.
This story was updated Nov. 21 to include new information from Lauren King, executive director of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, about the grant.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ssadek19. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.