The 1996 National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients: A Comparison of Faith-Based and Secular Non-Profit Programs. Government Funding of Homeless Assistance Programs

03/19/2002

Revenue streams in non-profit organizations are “a complex mix of private and public dollars raised through grants, contracts, fees for services, sales, donations, investment income, special events income, and income from commercial ventures” (Boris 1998) and NSHAPC collected only very limited funding information from service providers.  The CATI portion of NSHAPC asked respondents two basic questions about funding: “what percentage of your current funding for the [emergency shelter] program comes from private funding such as individual contributions, foundation or corporate grants, United Way, funding from religious organizations or churches or other private sources?” and “what percentage of [your] current funding for the [emergency shelter] program comes from federal, state, or local government?”  The two responses had to sum to 100 percent.23  A final funding question, with an open-ended response, asked the respondent “from what agency does this [federal, state, or local government] funding come?” but responses to this last question were very limited and, not surprisingly, many local providers are unable to distinguish between government funds coming from state versus federal agencies, or between different agencies within the federal government.

The majority of faith-based programs receive no government funding at all.

The share of program funds coming from government sources of any type are reported in Tables 14 and 15 and Figure 6.  There are significant differences between faith-based and secular non-profit homeless assistance programs in levels of government funding.  The majority of faith-based programs (62 percent) receive no government funding at all and close to 90 percent receive less that one-half of their funding from government sources.  Among secular non-profits, less than one-quarter (23 percent) receive no government funds and only 40 percent receive less than one-half of their funds from government agencies.  Similarly large differences are found when one looks at the share of programs that are fully funded by the government.  Twenty-two percent of secular non-profits rely on government funds exclusively, compared to less than 3 percent of faith-based programs.  To some extent, differences between faith-based and secular non-profits in levels of government funding are affected by the types of programs the two groups of providers tend to run.  Faith-based groups run the majority of food programs and these are much less likely than housing programs (the majority of which are run by secular non-profits) to receive government funding.

 

Table 14:
Percent of Funding from Government Sources Among Faith-Based Non-profits
  Number of Programs Percent of Funding
0 1-24 25-49 50-74 75-99 100
All Program Types 11,902 (100%) 61.5 17.9 8.6 5.3 4.1 2.7
  Housing 3,587 (100%) 55.7 17.3 10.0 6.4 6.1 4.5
    Emergency Shelter 1,436 (100%) 54.1 21.8 9.9 7.5 4.7 2.0
    Transitional Shelter 1,116 (100%) 57.2 15.6 9.4 5.5 9.7 2.6
    Permanent Housing 190 (100%) 53.1 5.7 4.6 16.4 8.5 11.6
    Distribute Vouchers 714 (100%) 61.5 9.9 12.6 3.1 3.1 9.8
    Housing For Vouchers 131 (100%) 32.6 39.9 10.5 4.4 2.3 10.4
  Food 6,495 (100%) 60.7 21.2 8.8 5.2 2.7 1.4
    Soup Kitchen/Meal Distribution 2,056 (100%) 60.4 22.2 8.1 3.7 4.0 1.5
    Food Pantry 4,294 (100%) 60.3 20.9 9.4 6.0 2.0 1.4
    Mobile Food 145 (100%) 76.9 13.3 3.2 5.1 1.5 0.0
  Health 126 (100%) 78.4 1.7 2.5 3.5 10.6 3.3
    Physical Health Care .   . . . . . .
    Mental Health .   . . . . . .
    Alcohol or Drug .   . . . . . .
    HIV/AIDS .   . . . . . .
  Other 1,693 (100%) 75.8 7.5 5.0 3.3 4.7 3.6
    Outreach 494 (100%) 65.8 13.4 3.7 3.3 5.0 8.9
    Drop-In Center 425 (100%) 75.7 7.0 7.2 1.2 5.4 3.5
    Financial/Housing Assist. 256 (100%) 64.9 1.2 13.2 10.9 9.0 0.8
    Other 518 (100%) 91.0 5.5 0.4 1.3 1.6 0.2

Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."


Table 15:
Percent of Funding from Government Sources Among Secular Non-profit Programs

  Number of Programs Percent of Funding
0 1-24 25-49 50-74 75-99 100
All Program Types 17,271 (100%) 23.2 7.6 9.0 15.1 23.2 21.9
  Housing 8,016 (100%) 13.0 6.3 9.9 19.6 28.6 22.4
    Emergency Shelter 3,365 (100%) 8.3 6.5 11.9 27.6 36.4 9.3
    Transitional Shelter 2,321 (100%) 11.2 8.0 11.6 18.5 30.4 20.2
    Permanent Housing 851 (100%) 15.4 4.4 6.0 11.1 22.5 40.5
    Distribute Vouchers 1,192 (100%) 27.8 4.7 4.6 5.3 11.1 46.4
    Housing For Vouchers 287 (100%) 13.3 3.4 6.9 20.3 13.9 42.2
  Food 4,430 (100%) 40.8 14.7 10.1 14.4 9.2 10.7
    Soup Kitchen/Meal Distribution 979 (100%) 25.2 11.1 11.8 17.5 9.0 25.4
    Food Pantry 3,277 (100%) 46.4 16.0 10.1 12.1 9.6 5.9
    Mobile Food 174 (100%) 23.7 12.3 1.8 40.0 2.4 19.8
  Health 914 (100%) 17.3 1.4 3.4 10.9 31.5 35.6
    Physical Health Care 198 (100%) 26.9 2.4 3.4 22.6 29.9 14.8
    Mental Health 225 (100%) 7.9 1.4 6.1 5.1 33.5 46.0
    Alcohol or Drug 320 (100%) 20.3 0.7 1.2 4.6 30.1 43.1
    HIV/AIDS 170 (100%) 12.9 1.8 3.6 16.7 33.3 31.8
  Other 3,911 (100%) 25.6 3.5 7.1 7.6 25.8 30.3
    Outreach 1,722 (100%) 14.6 3.0 6.2 8.5 30.2 37.5
    Drop-In Center 1,067 (100%) 33.7 3.2 8.9 7.6 21.2 25.3
    Financial/Housing Assist. 403 (100%) 43.4 1.6 2.2 2.0 27.2 23.6
    Other 719 (100%) 30.2 6.5 9.6 8.4 21.3 24.0

Source:  Urban Institute analysis of NSHAPC program data.  Data represent "an average day in February 1996."


Figure 6:
Percentage of Funding From Government Sources

Figure 6: Percentage of Funding From Government Sources


23.  Note that NSHAPC did not ask about in-kind contributions, such as the free use of space or buildings, donated food, volunteers’ time, etc.  In-kind contributions (which can come from both government and private sources) can account for a significant share of a program’s resources.