An initiative of

San Francisco can dramatically reduce the number of chronically homeless adults by January 2023, exceeding our initiative’s 50% reduction goal

Total placements and preventions needed: 9,632

Total since 2017:  4,363

Total still needed: 5,269

Transparency and Accountability

It is imperative that San Francisco hold itself accountable for its commitments to relieve suffering and improve residents’ quality of life.

For each remaining year of its initiative, CHI estimates inflow, account for the City’s commitments to make new units available, and project CHI efforts to help people regain housing and prevent chronic homelessness. Using this methodology, we have laid out the path to exceeding a 50% reduction in chronic homelessness by January 2023.

The tools presented here will be updated quarterly so that the homelessness response system can adjust its strategies as needed.

Tracking Progress: Click here to read about our tracking methodology

Annual Progress Toward Goal

We Are Expanding the Solution Space

The challenge in San Francisco is that our efforts have not often been based on comprehensive and strategic planning resulting in over reliance on particular strategies like master leasing and new construction.  This results in a one size fits all approach that can be time consuming and expensive relying on solutions that take too long and are prohibitively expensive like new construction tax credit developments

It is critical that we enlarge the solution by utilizing additional strategies.  For instance, the Flexibility Housing Subsidy housing pool launched in San Francisco relies on scattered site housing in the private market to create more Permanent Supportive housing very quickly all over the City. Further, Shared Housing is a viable option for many homeless people who do not want to live alone and are able to split the rent and create their own affordable unit. Additionally, Problem Solving provides very targeted assistance so that homeless people can create their own solutions.

These additional approaches all share a belief that homeless people need to be at the center of their solution if we are ever going to create enough housing for everybody.

Creating New Units

Existing Strategies

New construction: New residential buildings constructed throughout San Francisco, where community-based organizations provide supportive services to tenants to help them remain permanently housed.

Master leasing: The City rents blocks of rooms or entire residential hotels and then making them available for people exiting homelessness to sub-let.

Expansion Strategies

Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool: Securing private market homes for people to exit homelessness by establishing relationships with landlords and providing tenants with rental subsidies and supportive services to help them stay housed for the long term.

Shared Housing: Housing for one or more non-related adults in one unit to increase available housing options.

Non-PSH Alternatives: Housing programs for people who do not need PSH include problem-solving and rapid rehousing.

Preventing Chronic Homelessness

We invest in programs that intervene when individuals are transitioning from systems that disproportionately correlate with homelessness (e.g. child welfare, criminal justice, and behavioral health systems) and help access housing and other services that promote housing stability. By intervening at these moments of transition, we aim to prevent people already experiencing housing instability or homelessness from becoming chronically homeless.

A “prevention” involves helping an individual who is at risk of chronic homelessness connect with a home and/or services that help them regain and retain housing.

Prevention Progress to Goal

Progress: 126 preventions

Goal: 150 preventions

Reversing Disparities

Systemic inequities have resulted in a homeless population with glaring disparities for Black and LGBTQ San Franciscans. Black and African American individuals make up 32% of the San Francisco chronic homeless population but 5% of the total population. LGBTQ San Franciscans are 27% of the chronic homeless population but only 12% of the total population. The ratios for the overall homeless population are similar.

Urban Institute created for Tipping Point a housing placement schedule that would eliminate these disproportionalities in the chronic homeless population in two years. While the Fair Housing Act can pose challenges, other communities have been successful while remaining in compliance. Tipping Point is prepared to provide resources toward this end.

We Are Optimizing The Public Sector

We have invested $89 million in private funding and unlocked $349.4 million in public resources to reduce homelessness.

We invest in strategies that demonstrate replicable proofs of concept and expand access to underutilized state and federal funding sources. Further, we ensure that our strategies can be sustained with public dollars after our investment ends.  In other words, we leverage our one-time investments to secure additional public dollars to reduce homelessness in San Francisco. Often, a one-time investment unlocks resources that can be used over many years, and thus we assess the effectiveness of these investments by considering the total value of additional public funds leveraged over the course of the Chronic Homelessness Initiative.

However, an equally salient measure of our effectiveness in this strategy is the extent to which we are able to expand the solution set, investing in the capacity of the service sector to adapt, and transform until it can contain the challenge of homelessness. The Moving On Initiative detailed above, our new supportive housing building developed at significantly below-average time and cost, and our partnership with our criminal justice system to ensure no-one exits jail into homelessness are just a few examples – please proceed to our programs page to learn more.

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