Mayor Willie L. Brown,

Coordinated Strategy to Prevent Homelessness

The following is an overview of the fundamental components of San Francisco. s Continuum of Care system currently in place and those the community are working towards:


What we have built to date. Homeless prevention is an essential element of San Francisco. s Continuum of Care, where early interventions include eviction prevention, in-home support, legal services, and money management. Prevention strategies are cost effective and ensure that individuals and families who are at risk of homelessness are able to achieve and maintain housing and income stability. The City has aggressively pursued other resources such as FEMA and ESGP funds, and private donations. The Department of Human Services also provides General Fund monies for eviction prevention services. In 1997, this combined pool of funds prevented 668 families and 330 single adults from losing their housing. The Department of Human services has expanded the number of subsidized child care slots, brought five new Family Support Centers on line, developed a contract with the Food Bank to expand access to food and nutrition information for very low income people in San Francisco, and expanded the hot meals program through Multi-Service Center North for single adults living in SROs.

Outreach, Intake and Assessment

What we have built to date: San Francisco currently has in place an effective outreach network of eight multi-disciplinary teams who are deployed throughout the City to engage homeless youth, single adults and families in accessing health care, emergency housing, food, clothing transportation, and other needs. Funding for the City. s outreach effort comes from the Department of Human Services, The Department of Public Health, private foundations, and donations. Connecting Point provides streamlined access to emergency housing and services for homeless families in San Francisco. 1,186 were assisted in year two and 1,300 this year.

Emergency Shelter

What we have built to date: San Francisco currently has 20 emergency shelters that provide an array of emergency housing and support services to families, victims of domestic violence, youth, and single adults. Eights sites are designated for families (309) beds, and 12 programs serve individuals and youth (1,585 beds). Emergency shelters are funded through private donations, foundations, and through local, state and federal resources. The Department of Human Services dedicates $7 million annually (an increase of 35% in General Fund dollars), or 54% of the Homeless Programs budget for emergency shelter. Two SHP Safe Haven grants have expanded San Francisco. s capacity to accommodate the special needs of homeless mentally disable women and men, one of the most vulnerable populations living on the streets. In response to the volume and duration of wet weather caused by El Nino, the City established a new shelter, Mission Rock, which is designed for up to 600 single individuals a night.

Transitional Housing

What we have built to date: Transitional housing programs have played a key role in supporting families, youth and single adults in achieving housing and economic stability. The City has 405 transitional beds for families and 1,346 for single adults and youth. HUD funding for transitional housing is leveraged with private donations, foundations grants, and local General Fund dollars.

Permanent Housing

What we have built to date: San Francisco has an extensive network of nonprofit housing developers who have significantly increased the stock of affordable and supportive housing in the past 15 years. Currently, there are 636 beds of supportive housing for families and 1,581 beds for individuals in operation or under development. These successes derive from highly effective collaborations between and among key City departments and the community. These include the Mayor. s Office of Housing, the Redevelopment Agency, The Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Services, the Mayor. s Office of Community Development, and nonprofit housing developers (Mission Housing Development Corporation, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Bernal Heights Housing Corporation, CP/TODCO, Chinese Community Housing Corporation and the Community Housing Partnership). Underlying these collaborative efforts is the critical role HUD plays in providing capital funds and operating subsidies to ensure that homeless and very low income people can gain access to truly affordable permanent housing.

Supportive Services

What we have built to date: Key to the success of any permanent housing efforts targeting homeless adults and families is the appropriate complement of services to support housing stability. San Francisco has developed an extensive array of health, mental health, substance abuse, vocational assistance, advocacy and legal assistance, and other services. These are mainstream services for the most part, available to an used by homeless people as well as people who have housing. According to the Homeless Advocacy Project Resource Manual 1997, 47 nonprofit and city agencies provide assistance for people with alcohol and drug abuse problems; 60 agencies provide advocacy and legal services to assist with the full spectrum of legal issues; 68 organizations provide assistance to people who need counseling or have mental health issues; 45 agencies provide employment assistance; 16 organizations provide assistance with food; and 50 organizations provide assistance with general medical and health issues. In addition, the Department of Human Services currently provides $2.3 million for supportive services specifically attached to permanent housing.

Substance Abuse Services. San Francisco is its second year of implementing a policy of Treatment on Demand to make appropriate substance abuse treatment available to people who seek it when they seek it. The $4 million that the City put into this last year has been increased by an additional $2.1 million in this year. s budge. Service models have changed, too. A survey of 700 male and female drug users and another of 400 women drug users revealed that people prefer a holistic approach that addresses all of the needs, not just drug abuse alone.

Mental health services. As part of the state-mandated managed care requirements, the City has established an 800 number for people needing mental health services, and 70-100 calls are coming in daily. Of those, 53% of the callers are without insurance, and the City. s resources are not sufficient to meet the needs. In the absence of sufficient dedicated resources, the City must maximize the efficacy of related services and those points in the system where people do receive services, e.g., welfare to work employment specialist, case managers and counselors in housing programs.

Employment Services

The Homeless Employment Collaborative (HEC) incorporates a strong remedial education component and support services such as childcare, transportation and voice mail with job training and placement services. Two other collaboratives work closely with the Integrated Services Network to target employment services to homeless residents of permanent supportive housing. Through these collaboratives the partner agencies offer mainstream services for special populations.


Two SHP-funded childcare programs are linked together in a one-stop-shop approach at Catholic Charities to streamline access for families who are in emergency shelter, transitional housing, or treatment programs. Catholic Charities conducts outreach to all homeless family programs in the City, helps families find a good match with childcare providers, and supports the families through a multi-disciplinary approach that includes the families. relative and other case managers or counselors.

Contact Person: Terry Hill, Homeless Coordinator Mayor. s Office on Homelessness 10 United Nations Plaza 25 Van Ness Ave., Suite 750 San Francisco, CA 94102  

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The United States Conference of Mayors

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