The 1996 National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients: A Comparison of Faith-Based and Secular Non-Profit Programs. Appendix B: Ways That Government Financially Supports Faith-Based Social Services

03/19/2002

Luis Lugo, Director of the Religion Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts, has developed a nine-point scale in describing the variety of ways that the government can support faith-based agencies in organizations in their delivery of social welfare services.  The nine types of government support — ordered from high to low in terms of general public approval — are:(24)

  1. The president and other leaders trumpet the success of innovative and effective faith-based programs, encouraging citizens, corporations and foundations to increase their support for these efforts.
  2. Citizens and corporations directly support their favorite charities, including religiously affiliated nonprofits (i.e., 501(c)(3)s) and congregations, and receive a tax deduction.  A new study by Price-WaterhouseCoopers estimates that President Bush’s proposal to extend the charitable deduction to the 85 million taxpayers who do not itemize their taxes could stimulate an additional $14.6 billion a year in charitable giving, with the lion’s share going to religious organizations.
  3. Citizens and corporations directly support their favorite charities, including religious nonprofits and congregations, and receive a tax credit.  For example, President Bush is encouraging states to provide a tax credit (up to 50 percent of the first $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples) against state income or other taxes for donations to charities — whether secular or religious — that are battling poverty and its effects.  (Note: This proposal could become quite controversial if federal welfare dollars were to be used to offset the cost of these credits.)
  4. State and local government job training and juvenile delinquency programs have recruited volunteers from churches as mentors.  Conversely, a federal volunteer program, AmeriCorps, placed nearly 6,000 of the total 40,000 positions in 2000 in religious nonprofits such as the Catholic Network for Volunteer Service and the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy.
  5. Religiously affiliated nonprofits such as Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities USA have received billions of public dollars to run a variety of social service programs, including Head Start, emergency shelters, adoption services and refugee resettlement.
  6. Government provides both in-kind, non-cash assistance and formula grant support to religiously affiliated nonprofits.  In-kind assistance often is provided informally, for example, by allowing a welfare-to-work program to use a desk in the county welfare office and copying program brochures.  Formula grants designate money for specific resources, for instance, computers for qualified low-income housing projects, according to objective, non-discretionary criteria (usually, the number of clients served).  While these grants are made to 501(c)(3)s), both religious and secular, these organizations often redistribute funds to on-the-ground programs, including church-based social services.
  7. A large secular nonprofit such as Goodwill Industries with the administrative capacity and experience to work with the government signs a contract to provide social services, and in turn subcontracts some of the services to other organizations, including church-based ministries.
  8. Government provides clients with certificates or vouchers, and they in turn select the provider of their choice, including church-based social service ministries.  Vouchers are a restricted subsidy that falls between cash and direct government provision of services, and are currently used in higher education, child care, job training, housing and health care.
  9. The newest, and most controversial, option is made possible by the charitable choice provision of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.  Charitable choice permits churches, synagogues and mosques as well as other pervasively religious organizations to compete for government contracts on the same basis as secular, non-governmental service providers, but prohibits the use of public funds for religious worship or proselytizing as well as discrimination among clients on the basis of religious belief.  However, congregations may continue to use religion as a criterion for personnel decisions, as under current law.

 

Appendix Table B1:
Unweighted Number of NSHAPC Programs by Type of Agency Operating Programs
  Total Number of Programs Faith-Based Non-Profit Secular Non-Profit Government For-Profit Unidentified
All Program Types 11,983 3,880 5,888 1,162 103 950
  Housing 5,035 1,236 2,811 497 64 427
    Emergency Shelter 1,692 524 974 91 12 91
    Transitional Shelter 1,728 425 1,056 141 20 86
    Permanent Housing 751 105 452 110 12 72
    Distribute Vouchers 572 147 229 91 3 102
    Housing For Vouchers 292 35 100 64 17 76
  Food 3,860 2,065 1,418 128 11 238
    Soup Kitchen/Meal Distribution 1,278 723 430 37 3 85
    Food Pantry 2,414 1,272 922 90 7 123
    Mobile Food 168 70 66 1 1 30
  Health 769 55 429 205 10 70
    Physical Health Care 168 11 93 48 0 16
    Mental Health 214 9 115 75 2 13
    Alcohol or Drug 210 26 119 42 5 18
    HIV/AIDS 177 9 102 40 3 23
  Other 2,319 524 1,230 332 18 215
    Outreach 1,113 210 615 174 8 106
    Drop-In Center 584 156 316 42 2 68
    Financial/Housing Assist. 151 42 54 46 1 8
    Other 471 116 245 70 7 33
Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."

 

Appendix Table B1a:
Unweighted Number of NSHAPC Programs by Urban/Rural Status
  Total Number of Programs Faith-Based Non-Profit Secular Non-Profit Government For-Profit Unidentified
All Program Types 11,983 3,880 5,888 1,162 103 950
Central Cities
All 7,763 2,590 3,769 721 70 613
Housing 3,235 843 1,795 290 45 262
Food 2,385 1,348 798 75 6 158
Health 556 47 320 144 6 39
Other 1,587 352 856 212 13 154
Suburbs
All 3,778 1,173 1,912 358 32 303
Housing 1,608 358 913 171 19 147
Food 1,342 655 565 43 4 75
Health 186 7 103 47 4 25
Other 642 153 331 97 5 56
Rural Areas
All 441 117 207 83 1 33
Housing 191 35 103 36 0 17
Food 133 62 55 10 1 5
Health 27 1 6 14 0 6
Other 90 19 43 23 0 5
Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."

 

Appendix Table B1b:
Unweighted Number of NSHAPC Programs by Region of the Country
  Total Number of Programs Faith-Based Non-Profit Secular Non-Profit Government For-Profit Unidentified
All Program Types 11,983 3,880 5,888 1,162 103 950
Northeast
All 3,090 908 1,640 294 19 229
Housing 1,308 248 793 153 12 102
Food 1,073 559 401 44 3 66
Health 183 10 123 30 2 18
Other 526 91 323 67 2 43
South
All 2,155 859 922 221 12 141
Housing 906 287 460 91 8 60
Food 704 433 214 15 1 41
Health 126 12 65 38 1 10
Other 419 127 183 77 2 30
Midwest
All 2,876 1,093 1,263 274 23 223
Housing 1,130 320 586 109 17 98
Food 1,056 619 344 35 4 54
Health 147 13 69 48 0 17
Other 543 141 264 82 2 54
West
All 3,660 962 1,957 359 48 334
Housing 1,592 350 920 138 27 157
Food 982 433 442 34 2 71
Health 300 20 164 84 7 25
Other 786 159 431 103 12 81
Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."

Endnotes

24.  This list is drawn directly from a recent publication by the Pew Charitable Trusts (Lugo 2001).