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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos donate $97.5 million to 24 nonprofits across the U.S. working on family homelessness


NEW YORK – November 20, 2018 – Urban Resource Institute (URI) today announced it has received a $5 million grant from the Day 1 Families Fund to develop and implement an Economic Empowerment Center. URI is a leading nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive social services to New York’s most vulnerable populations, including families fighting homelessness.

Services and programming offered through the Center will provide education, training, and employment opportunities to enhance access to living wage jobs, jobs of the future, and sustainable housing for families experiencing homelessness, many of whom also struggle with domestic violence.
Currently, an average of more than 60,000 individuals sleep in shelters each night in New York City due to a wide range of factors, including poverty, lack of access to affordable housing, domestic violence, and job insecurity, among others.

“The relationship between domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, and economic empowerment is complex and deeply entwined,” said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of Urban Resource Institute. “It is critical that the families impacted by these issues have access to the innovative, holistic services needed to break cycles of vulnerability and lead safe, stable lives. This incredible grant from the Day 1 Families Fund will better position URI to interrupt the intergenerational nature of homelessness by positioning adults and youth in shelter to secure and maintain sustainable living wages and permanent housing.”

The Day 1 Families Fund grant will enhance URI’s ability to provide families residing in URI facilities with access to a continuum of care that extends beyond shelter residency. Recognizing that poverty and domestic violence are contributing factors to housing instability, and that permanent supportive housing is part of the solution to chronic homelessness, the economic empowerment center will expand URI’s ability to respond to and counter increasing recidivism rates for families by promoting economic self-sufficiency and safety.

Specifically, services within URI’s economic empowerment center will begin upon admission to shelter with the completion of a comprehensive assessment of each family member’s education, training, and employment history, followed by the design and implementation of a comprehensive service plan that includes access to job training, placement, and coaching. Families participating in the program will have access to opportunities that allow them to build knowledge, skills, financial literacy, and experiences to promote their self-esteem and ability to secure and maintain sustainable living wages and housing upon reentry into the workforce. The economic empowerment center will also provide access to training and education services uniquely focused on preparing youth for jobs of the future in tech and other industries to counter intergenerational cycles of poverty.

The organization currently operates six shelters throughout New York City, providing more than 850 beds for families in need on any given night. As the largest provider of domestic violence residential services in the country, URI provides shelters for more than 1,000 individuals, including survivors and their families across 12 facilities.

Urban Resource Institute is one of 24 nonprofits to receive the first Day 1 Families Fund grants, totaling $97.5 million. Recipients from around the country include: Abode Services, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, Community of Hope, Community Rebuilders, Crossroads Rhode Island, District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), Emerald Development & Economic Network (EDEN) Inc., FrontLine Service, Hamilton Families, Heartland Family Service, Housing Families First, JOIN, LA Family Housing (LAFH), Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), Primo Center for Women and Children, Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), SEARCH Homeless Services, Simpson Housing Services, The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte, The Salvation Army of Greater Houston, UMOM New Day Centers and Urban Resource Institute (URI).

Founded by Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, the Bezos Day One Fund consists of two programs: the Day 1 Families Fund that provides grants to nonprofit organizations fighting homelessness, and the Day 1 Academies Fund that will fund and build a network of pre-schools in low-income communities across the country. The Day 1 Families Fund’s vision comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child should sleep outside. A small group of expert advisors provided input to the Bezos Day One Fund team to select these organizations. The Day 1 Families Fund will be awarding grants annually. For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.

About Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI) is a leading non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and supportive social services that aid and empower New Yorkers in times of crisis. URI’s programs provide care for survivors of domestic violence, individuals with developmental disabilities, homeless families, and other at-risk populations, allowing them to live in safety and recover from trauma in both residential and non-residential settings. With deep community relationships and a flexible, innovative approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York City’s most vulnerable populations. URI merged with the Center Against Domestic Violence in 2018, the first licensed provider of domestic violence shelter in New York. With nearly 80 years of combined experience, the organization is the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the country, with the ability to shelter over 1,000 individuals, including survivors and their families, on any given day. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.