Mayor Breed Announces New Homelessness Prevention Funding as City Releases Initial Homelessness Count Numbers
Initial results of biannual count show 17% increase in homelessness over last two years, though both youth homelessness and veteran homelessness are down; Mayor Breed announces $5 million investment in prevention to prevent people from becoming homeless
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced a new $5 million investment in homelessness prevention to address the rise of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. This comes as the initial results of the two-year Homelessness Point-in-Time (PIT) Count show a 17% increase in homeless individuals since 2017. The count also shows a reduction in veteran homelessness of 14% and youth homelessness of 10%.
The $5 million homelessness prevention investment will be included in this year’s upcoming budget. It will fund a series of targeted investments to help keep people from becoming homeless and help newly homeless individuals quickly exit homelessness. These interventions include relocation programs like Homeward Bound, family reunification, mediation, move-in assistance, and flexible grants to address issues related to housing and employment.
Every two years, San Francisco is required to conduct a homelessness Point-in-Time Count by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD count, which was conducted on January 24, 2019, counted 8,011 homeless people, both sheltered and unsheltered, in San Francisco. The 2017 HUD count recorded 6,858 people. The increase in unsheltered people was driven largely by people living in vehicles, accounting for 68% of the increase in unsheltered people. There was also an increase in sheltered residents, resulting from the investments the City has made to add shelter beds.
“The initial results of this count show we have more to do to provide more shelter, more exits from homelessness, and to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. The results around our work focusing on youth and veteran homelessness are evidence that when we target our investments, we can make a difference for those living on our streets. As I have been saying for years, we desperately need to build more housing, especially badly needed affordable housing and supportive housing, because we know that high housing costs contribute to an increase in homelessness,” said Mayor Breed. “We know that homelessness is not just an issue in San Francisco, as other counties in the Bay Area and across the state are experiencing similar circumstances, and we all need to work together on regional and statewide solutions to address this crisis. As we continue to look at the data, we will focus more investments, but right now the data shows we need to prioritize investments to keep people stable and prevent them becoming homeless in the first place.”
“While I am pleased that we saw reductions in Veteran and youth homelessness, we are saddened that there are more people living without housing in San Francisco,” said Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “We are proud to have helped over 4,000 people exit homelessness since the last PIT count but clearly have much more work to do, especially around preventing homelessness and assisting people living in their vehicles.”
In addition to the $5 million investment in prevention funding, Mayor Breed will continue the progress being made to open over 300 new shelter beds this year, and an additional 500 beds in 2020. To address the growing population of people living in vehicles, San Francisco will expand its Vehicle Encampment Resolution Team, which works with individuals to help them into services and housing, and open a Vehicle Triage Center where people living in their vehicles can stay as they work to exit homelessness. San Francisco will also open 300 new units of supportive housing in 2019, which have already been funded, and there are over 1,000 more units in the pipeline.
The full report, including a survey of more than 1,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals, and a report on homeless youth, conducted during the 2019 PIT Count, will be fully compiled and released on July 1, 2019. San Francisco also conducts its own more expansive version of the count, but the HUD count is consistent with what other counties conduct, which makes for a more standard comparison across the state.