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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London Breed Announces the Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool to Transition Hundreds of Vulnerable Homeless Residents into Permanent Housing

As the City pivots from COVID-19 response to recovery, the City partners with non-profits to fund and operate a bold initiative to ensure that hundreds of unhoused residents never return to homelessness

San Francisco, CA — Today, Mayor London N. Breed and the All In Campaign, powered by Tipping Point Community, announced that 200 unhoused San Franciscans who have been temporarily placed in hotels under the City’s emergency response to COVID-19 would move into long-term homes by the end of the year through a Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool. 

“Even as we have implemented emergency responses to COVID-19, we have remained focused on long term solutions to homelessness, particularly more housing,” said Mayor Breed. “The Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool is an innovative and cost-effective way to get our unhoused residents out of temporary shelters, off the streets, and into permanent homes.”

The “Flex Pool,” as it is commonly known, is a housing strategy that matches people experiencing homelessness to vacant private market apartments across the city, and provides supportive services so that they remain stably housed. This model has proven effective, helping over 8,000 people transition from homelessness to permanent homes with supportive services in Los Angeles since 2014. San Francisco has already started utilizing the Flex Pool on a small scale and will significantly build on these efforts over the course of the year.

The San Francisco Flex Pool is a partnership between the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH), Brilliant Corners, and philanthropy including Tipping Point Community, Dignity Health, and Crankstart. HSH will refer eligible individuals into the Flex Pool. Brilliant Corners will identify landlords and property owners who have vacant units available, support prospective tenants through the leasing process, and provide housing retention services to tenants throughout the duration of their lease. Tenants will contribute 30% of their income towards their rent, while receiving rental subsidies and supportive services that help them stay housed for the long term. Philanthropic dollars will pay for the first 18 months of Flex Pool operations.

“We are committed to securing permanent homes for as many of the people who have been sheltered as a result of COVID-19 as we possibly can. The Flex Pool is an important step in fulfilling that commitment,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Interim Director of the Department of Homeless and Supportive Housing.

“The combination of supportive services and rent subsidies is a sustainable formula for securing the housing people need to be healthy,” said Ashley Brand, system director of community and homeless health for CommonSpirit Health and Dignity Health. “As a health system, we have a mission to improve health, especially for people who are vulnerable, and we’re grateful for partnerships like this that help those struggling to find a safe place to live.”

Data shows that homelessness and COVID-19 both disproportionately impact the Black community. As the City lifts shelter-in-place restrictions, this program will ensure that hundreds of our most vulnerable unhoused residents, many of whom are Black and at greater risk for contracting COVID-19, secure permanent homes where they can better protect their health. The partners are committed to ensuring that the Flex Pool plays a role in reducing the racial disparities among San Francisco’s homeless population. 

“To truly demonstrate our commitment to racial equality, we must make good on our promise to secure housing for the many Black people who have been disproportionately impacted by homelessness for years, even decades,” said Chris Block, Tipping Point’s Chronic Homelessness Initiative Director. 

Given the current rental market, it is less expensive to lease apartments in many neighborhoods than it is to pay nightly hotel rates. By moving people out of hotels, the program will free up more space for people who are currently on our streets to access hotel rooms, while expanding the supply of supportive housing throughout San Francisco.

“Flexible housing subsidy pools are the most efficient model for matching people to existing housing resources. While it can take three to five years to build a new 50-unit affordable building, a Flex Pool can house 200 people or more in a matter of months – and help them to stay housed,” said William F. Pickel, CEO of Brilliant Corners.

The City has already moved some people into permanent housing through the Flex Pool, including Roland Limjoco, 47, who had been homeless for several years and moved into his new studio in early June.

“I feel less stressed now... I was so stressed every day. It was hard being homeless. I remember the times I was staying on the street, and I had a really bad experience. I was so excited when I moved in. Here in my new place it is great, quiet, and I have a nice view. I never had this before. I also now have an elevator which is great due to my knee problems,” said Limjoco.

About All In

The All In campaign is a diverse coalition focused on solutions to homelessness in San Francisco. The campaign’s first call to action is to secure homes for 1,100 people experiencing homelessness throughout San Francisco’s 11 supervisorial districts. Solving homelessness is a shared responsibility that requires involvement from the entire City. As one of the wealthiest and most innovative cities in the world, we have the resources and ingenuity to address homelessness boldly and compassionately. Now is the moment to go all in.

About Tipping Point Community

Tipping Point’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty for people in the Bay Area who don’t have the resources to meet their basic needs. Since 2005, Tipping Point has raised more than $260 million for early childhood, education, employment, and housing solutions in the region. Our board covers 100% of our operating costs, so every dollar donated goes where it’s needed most. Last year, we helped more than 130,000 people take steps out of poverty.

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