Given the different types of agencies operating homeless assistance programs, it should not be surprising that considerable differences also exist across program types in the extent to which they rely on private funding or funding from government sources (federal, state, or local) to support their operations. Figure 4.7 shows these differences as the proportion of program budgets that come from government funding; private funding makes up the balance of each program's budget.
Food programs are the most likely to rely solely on private funding, and to report that they use no government funds (true for 51 percent of food programs). They are also the least likely to be fully supported by government funds (6 percent). Conversely, health programs are the least likely to rely solely on private funding sources (only 12 percent operate entirely without government funding) and the most likely to be fully supported from government sources (55 percent).
In between are housing and other types of homeless assistance programs. One-fourth of all housing programs for homeless clients are fully supported by government funds, and about equal proportions rely entirely on private funds (23 percent) or receive up to half of their budget from government sources (22 percent). The final 30 percent of housing programs receive from half to almost all of their support from government funds. Other homeless assistance programs are split quite evenly among the one-third that rely entirely on private funding, the 34 percent that are completely supported by government, and the one-third whose level of government support falls somewhere in between.
The value of in-kind contributions from private sources are not included in these figures. For many programs, these contributions can be of considerable value and include food, rent-free buildings, equipment, and volunteer time to perform critical program functions.