Emergency Housing Vouchers: An important new tool to reduce homelessness in San Francisco
As we end the year facing yet another COVID challenge in the form of the Omicron variant, it would be easy to overlook some of the gains we have made over the past year. One such gain was the passage of the American Rescue Plan. While the American Rescue Plan dominated the headlines for months, one aspect went largely under the radar. Significantly, for our work, the American Rescue Plan awarded approximately 70,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) nationwide. Intended specifically for people experiencing homelessness, these vouchers marked a recognition that, without a major investment by the federal government, COVID would likely exacerbate homelessness.
San Francisco received 906 emergency housing vouchers and immediately set out to ensure that the vouchers would reach some of our most vulnerable residents. Knowing that it would take an all-hands-on-deck approach, CHI offered to support the effort, making approximately $1 million dollars in grants to increase the system’s capacity to process voucher applications and secure apartments on the private rental market.
I am very pleased to report that some San Franciscans have already used these vouchers to move from homelessness to new permanent homes. For some, it will be the first holiday season that they have been housed in years. That is certainly something to celebrate.
As we say goodbye to 2021, I hope that we carry a renewed sense of hope and the collaborative spirit that is featured in the Spotlight with us into the new year.
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