Flagstaff Shelter Services receives $2.5 mil from Jeff Bezos foundation

Amazon (Photo/Walter Cicchetti, Adobe Stock)

Amazon (Photo/Walter Cicchetti, Adobe Stock)

FLAGSTAFF — Flagstaff Shelter Services, a low-barrier emergency shelter program committed to providing supportive, long-term housing to individuals and families in Northern Arizona, today announced that it has received a $2.5 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 grant will allow us to scale up our efforts to address the complexities of family homelessness significantly,” said Ross Schaefer, executive director of Flagstaff Shelter Services. “What excites me most is what it means for the future of the hundreds of families this will serve. The investments we will be able to make in housing, outreach, staffing and tailored wraparound programs for individuals and families are tremendous—this is only the beginning of a new chapter for our organization.”

This one-time grant will help Flagstaff Shelter Services in its tireless work to support families as they reel from skyrocketing rent costs, limited services and insufficient incomes. Flagstaff Shelter Services plans to invest the bulk of the grant funds in purchasing a hotel and converting it into a robust long-term housing facility. The grant will also allow the organization to hire more staff dedicated to working one-on-one with families to set them on a course for success and grow the team’s capacity for outreach, identifying more families in need of housing and diverting them toward permanent housing solutions.

Flagstaff Shelter Services 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.

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 www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.

Information provided by Flagstaff Shelter Services

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