From homeless to housed: December Snapshot

Luisa Montes December 20, 2021

Every month, we track the number of people who exited homelessness in San Francisco so we can determine if we are on pace to meet our housing goals for the year. Staying on top of this information helps us ask the important questions – of ourselves and others – to make sure we are doing everything possible to get people off the streets and into homes.

In the month of October, 94 people exited homelessness in San Francisco for a total of 1,150 people who have moved back into permanent homes so far this year. The previous two months saw some of our highest housing totals to date, so this month’s total represents a marked decrease which is particularly troubling as we see an increase in resources available for housing. It is imperative that we understand the reason behind this shortfall. To do so, we will continue to engage you in pushing for transparency and accountability with our Snapshot and Action Alerts. When we know the roadblocks, we can identify the solutions that will move people from the streets and into homes faster as the nights grow colder and longer.

Triage: How Can We Prioritize When the Needs are so Urgent?

Earlier this year, the federal government awarded San Francisco 906 Emergency Housing Vouchers to move people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or recently homeless. These federal vouchers are lifetime vouchers, ensuring nearly 1,000 permanent exits from homelessness.

San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) and the San Francisco Housing Authority developed a plan that prioritizes people who are literally homeless or at risk of homelessness. Voucher recipients include survivors of gender-based violence and people involved in the criminal justice system. The plan also supports the City’s equity goals by awarding 35% of vouchers to BIPOC residents to help address the overrepresentation of Black San Franciscans experiencing homelessness.

Ensuring efficient utilization of these vouchers requires collaboration across entities in the homelessness response system. For example, HSH identifies referral partners that identify applicants for the vouchers, philanthropy provides funding to support non-profit providers that will locate available housing units, non-profit organizations and government agencies support clients through the applications process, and the Housing Authority reviews applications and issues vouchers. A truly collaborative model. And, importantly, to date, over 100 applications have already been approved and some residents are starting to move into new homes. Continued coordination across these sectors will ensure that all 906 vouchers are distributed to our unhoused neighbors over the next year. 

“These new emergency housing vouchers will change the lives of the individuals and families who receive them by providing a lifeline,” said Shireen McSpadden, Director, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “Vouchers are a critical and effective tool in helping people connect with stable housing opportunities.”

We need you! All In is a campaign built on the people of San Francisco, and here’s how you can show up for our unhoused neighbors: 

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