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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor Lee Announces Legislation for City to Lease 250 Kearny for Homeless Veteran Housing

New 136-Unit Building Will Help San Francisco Reach Goal of Ending Chronic Veteran Homelessness; Airbnb Pledges Funds & Volunteer Hours to Get 250 Kearny Move-In Ready

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced legislation for the City to lease a 136-unit building at 250 Kearny Street in the Financial District that will put San Francisco within reach of ending chronic veteran’s homelessness.

“Earlier this year, I accepted President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to end chronic veterans homelessness,” said Mayor Lee. “With the new facility at 250 Kearny, San Francisco will be closer than ever to reaching our ambitious goal by the end of 2015, and I welcome additional support from and the technology sector to partner with San Francisco to end veteran’s homelessness once and for all.”

Mayor Lee also announced that Airbnb pledged funds for volunteer projects and a strong volunteer effort to get 250 Kearny ready and hospitable for new residents. The Mayor welcomes and the technology sector in continuing to support San Francisco’s campaign to end chronic veteran’s homelessness. 

The City has worked together with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), San Francisco Housing Authority, Human Services Agency, Swords to Plowshares, and others on the Homes for Heroes campaign. HUD VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) has enabled over 500 formerly homeless veterans in San Francisco to rent apartments in the private market. Because of San Francisco’s challenging rental market, 250 Kearny provides a rare opportunity to provide high-quality housing for an additional 130 formerly homeless veterans in a safe neighborhood. Each unit has a private bath, and the building has a large communal kitchen and on-site social workers and additional staff. Veterans who are the most vulnerable and have been homeless the longest are being targeted for residency.

“In the City of St. Francis, we need to continue to lead the effort to create housing for the least fortunate among us,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “I’m very pleased that this project in the heart of District 3 will house homeless veterans – the women and men who served our country but are now in critical need of assistance.”

“The 250 Kearny project is a perfect example of our local and federal government working together to help house hundreds of homeless individuals – many of them veterans who we all agree deserve better given their service to our country,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “As a City, we need to aggressively pursue housing opportunities for our homeless population as they become available in this tight housing market because we know the most humane and cost-effective strategy for reducing and ending homelessness is to provide individuals and families housing.”

In addition to 130 federally-funded vouchers representing over $1.75 million annually that will provide dedicated social work and medical and mental health resources, the San Francisco VA Medical Center has committed an additional $500,000 annually in support services to the site. The City’s general fund will cover the remaining $800,000 in costs. The San Francisco Housing Authority also secured an additional 75 project-based VASH vouchers to support 250 Kearny. 

“250 Kearny is a prime example of the amazing work that has been done with Mayor Lee and San Francisco,” said Bobbie Rosenthal, the VA’s regional coordinator for homeless programs. “We appreciate their creative approach that reduced veteran’s homelessness by 30 percent over the past two years. We are confident that, with the City’s lease of this property, San Francisco can reach its goal of ending chronic veteran’s homelessness by the end of 2015.”

“250 Kearny is so important because it offers a great location for a recovering veteran,” said Del Seymour, a veteran who serves on the Local Homeless Coordinating Board. “When a veteran walks around the block, he or she won’t be faced with the challenges and demons that can detract from recovery and land someone back on the street.”

“We have worked hard to meet the financial and paperwork requirements for 250 Kearny to happen,” said San Francisco Housing Authority Acting Executive Director Barbara Smith. “Adoption of the City’s lease by the Board of Supervisors is the last big step to opening this housing.”

Mayor Lee indicated that, with adoption of this lease, 250 Kearny will be substantially leased before year’s end.