News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor Lee Announces Innovative Public-Private Partnership to Dramatically Reduce Family Homelessness in San Francisco

Heading Home Campaign will raise $30M to provide vital rental subsidies to homeless families; reducing chronic homelessness for families

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Hamilton Families announce The Heading Home Campaign, a public-private partnership between the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, Hamilton Families, other non-profits and private philanthropy designed to dramatically reduce family homelessness.

The Heading Home Campaign, a $30 million initiative, has received funding from the philanthropic community, non-profits and the City. The City and County of San Francisco has invested $4.5 million on top of the $35 million spent annually on family homelessness and the campaign has raised $15 million in private funding, including a $10 million challenge/matching grant from Marc and Lynne Benioff.  In addition to this generous grant, donations have been received from:

  • Hellman Foundation
  • Mikkel Svane
  • Cari Tuna and Dustin Muskovitz
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund
  • Congregation Emanu-El


“Together we will move hundreds of families into permanent housing, ending the trauma of homelessness for so many children in San Francisco,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “The Heading Home Campaign is a fantastic example of civic leaders, non-profits and the City working together to make San Francisco better for all its residents.”

There are over 1,800 homeless and marginally housed children in San Francisco’s public schools. These include families who are doubled or tripled up, living in a SRO or hotel, in a shelter or transitional housing program, in their car, or outdoors. The campaign’s goal will be to reduce the amount of time these families experience homelessness from today’s average of 414 days to a maximum of 90 days through rapid re-housing.

“In our city where so many have done so well, it’s unacceptable that 1,800 students attending San Francisco’s public schools are homeless,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “I hope that other companies and individuals will join us as we take these initial steps in helping all the homeless children in our city find permanent housing.”  

“Through the Heading Home Initiative the City will be able to dramatically change the trajectory of families experiencing homelessness,” said Jeff Kositsky, Director of the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “Moving families to permanent housing within 90 days will improve the lives of parents and their children, while improving the shelter system’s ability to accommodate the shelter needs of families in crisis.”

Rapid re-housing rental assistance is an intervention designed to help individuals and families quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. Through Heading Home, a portion of a family’s rent will be paid directly to the landlord for up to 18 months and families will work with staff to find apartments, move in and then stabilize in their new community with ongoing support services. Rapid re-housing assistance is offered without preconditions — like employment, income, absence of criminal record, or sobriety — and the resources and services provided are tailored to the unique needs of the household.  Case managers will connect with families on at least a monthly basis to ensure they are following through with their plan, increasing their income, and connecting in the community.

“We are grateful for the leadership of the Mayor’s office, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, and the extraordinary support of the Benioffs and other private philanthropists on this effort,” said Clay Smudsky, President of Hamilton Families. “With a common vision and a clear goal we will help over 800 homeless families find housing over the next 3 years.”

The existing partnership that began in 2014 between the San Francisco Unified School District and Hamilton Families is a key component to continuing to help identify and improve outcomes for children experiencing homelessness. The trauma of homelessness can have a devastating impact on the education and brain development of our public-school students and reducing family homelessness will have a positive and lasting impact on students, the school district and our community. 

“Children who experience homelessness are much more likely to struggle with school, have behavioral challenges and repeat grades,” said Myong Leigh, Interim Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. “The Heading Home Campaign is a community-wide effort that will dramatically reduce the amount of time children are homeless, helping thousands of students achieve the stability they need to be successful in their studies.”

The Heading Home Campaign builds on the City’s ongoing efforts to address homelessness.  Since 2015, there has been a 20% reduction in the number of homeless families in the SFUSD.  The new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing will continue the work of improving the service delivery system for homeless families and will be adding over 300 new units of housing to serve this population.  All of these efforts combined will help achieve our goals of making family homelessness a rare, brief and one-time occurrence in San Francisco.



About the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing: The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) aims to make homelessness in San Francisco rare, brief and a one-time occurrence through the provision of coordinated, compassionate and high-quality services.  Established in 2016, HSH consolidates and coordinates citywide homeless serving programs and contracts.  For more information please visit:  


About the San Francisco Unified School District: The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is the seventh largest school district in California, educating over 57,000 students every year. San Francisco is both a city and a county; therefore, SFUSD administers both the school district and the San Francisco County Office of Education (COE).  SFUSD is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education.


About Hamilton Families: Founded in 1985, Hamilton Families established San Francisco’s first shelter for families experiencing homelessness. Today Hamilton Families is San Francisco’s leading service provider to homeless families, with an array of highly effective programs at sites in San Francisco and Oakland.  For more information please visit:


For more information on the Heading Home Campaign and how you can contribute, contact Debbie Wilber at