From homeless to housed: May Snapshot

All In Team May 19, 2022

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 March, 167 people exited  homelessness, bringing the total to 1,344 people, compared to 1,241 for all of last fiscal year. 

But the even bigger news is that earlier this week, San Francisco released its Point in Time Count (PIT Count) results for 2022, and reported a 3.5% decrease in homelessness in the City — the first decrease in nearly ten years. The results include a 15% decrease in unsheltered homelessness and 11% decrease in chronic homelessness, proving that homelessness is not an intractable problem.

We have said it once and we will say it again, housing and supportive services are critical to ending homelessness, particularly for people experiencing chronic homelessness. In fact, study after study has demonstrated that permanent supportive housing is extremely effective not only in ending homelessness for the most vulnerable members of our community but also in keeping them stably housed over time. 

The PIT Count shows our strategies are working. What we need now is scale and the capacity to provide more permanent supportive housing to more people more quickly.  That means acquiring new properties, building new units faster and cheaper, and expanding access to rental subsidies. These are just a few of the concrete steps we need to take if we want to see a meaningful reduction in homelessness and improve conditions on our streets. The good news is we have the resources we need to build on our progress.

But it’s not enough to create new permanent supportive housing—we also need to make sure that existing housing options have the amenities and supportive services necessary for occupants to enjoy a dignified quality of life.The City’s housing inventory contains over 9,000 units, and these units vary widely in quality and amenities. Many of you may have read a recent investigative report in The Chronicle, which highlighted some of the dire conditions in some of our housing stock, particularly in Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels. 

There is no way to sugar coat their findings, nor should we. Part of why we started the All In campaign was to advocate for greater transparency regarding homelessness in San Francisco. Suffice it to say, we do not think that it should take a newspaper investigation for these facts to come to light for the general public. And yet we know that the article was an eye-opener for many San Franciscans. 

Now that we have a firmer grasp on the nature and extent of the problem with our housing stock, we can work toward developing the measures needed to address it. There are already calls for greater accountability, with some members of the Board of Supervisors restarting efforts to form an oversight commission for the Department of Homelessness & Supportive Housing. 

Whether or not such a commission is needed is a subject for another day, but what we do know is that we must not confuse accountability with finger-pointing. We can’t be constructive if we’re focused on directing blame  at any one person, organization, or department. Accountability is collective. We all have a role to play in ending homelessness in San Francisco.

Keep your eyes wide open on this subject, and continue to ask questions and demand answers. Together, we will make the changes in our community we all want to see.

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: 

  • Share this blog with three friends/colleagues on FacebookTwitter to start a meaningful conversation about homelessness in our community.
  • The solutions to homelessness start with YOU. Click below to sign the All In Pledge.


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