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Step Up to Freedom Breaks the Pipeline from Incarceration to Homelessness

Dear Colleagues,

On September 9, the California Supreme Court granted a major victory for San Franciscans who voted for Proposition C in 2018. The Court’s decision to reject a legal challenge to the measure, which passed with 61% of the vote two years ago, means that tax revenue from San Francisco businesses that earn more than $50 million in gross receipts will be directed to housing and services to address homelessness.

This changes everything.  We needed resources, and now we have them.  But that can lead to a false sense of complacency, making it easy to tell ourselves that we did our job and now the City can finally, and permanently, address homelessness.

The truth is, all the money in the world will not solve homelessness in San Francisco unless each of us takes responsibility and demands transparency and accountability from everyone involved.

This rosy notion of a San Francisco without homelessness only happens if we actually create housing placements and move people inside. The Mayor’s Homeless Recovery Plan sets forth an ambitious two-year timeline to do just that. If we don’t meet the goals we set in the next two years, people will suffer and conditions on the streets won’t improve.

Now is not the time to step back from the homeless but to step forward, to see people experiencing homelessness as people, not problems. We are certainly not stepping back at CHI. We’re doing just the opposite by tracking progress toward goals on every intervention targeted to housing people experiencing chronic homelessness.

As you will read in the following update, our criminal justice work is one way we are working toward those goals. We play an essential philanthropic role in the community by prototyping key strategies, like Step Up to Freedom, that will transform the homelessness response system toward greater effectiveness and equity, and we will keep you updated so that you can be a part of the critically needed transparency and accountability efforts in our city.

Onward,

Chris Block

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