Why We Need Supportive Housing

by on June 28, 2004

It was announced last week that Mayor Gavin Newsom now intends to support a stand-alone bond for supportive housing in San Francisco. It is our sincerest hope that all San Franciscans will join together and pass this bond proposal in the fall.

San Francisco has long struggled to find innovative and effective solutions to homelessness, and has produced numerous programs that are considered to be national models. Over the last 15 years, San Francisco community agencies have developed several thousand units of supportive housing. In each of these sites, mostly residential hotels, formerly homeless individuals are given new opportunities to stabilize their lives.

The success rates are astounding. For instance, in the sites monitored by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which serve 1,500 clients per month and include many non-profit owned and managed buildings, more than 93% of formerly homeless clients are still housed a year after placement. The majority of them work productively with counselors, case managers, employment services, health care professionals and others to make sure they can stay off the street for good.

A supportive housing bond will allow programs like this to expand. Providers will be able to take in many more of the “chronically homeless” individuals still on the street today. It will not be enough to provide housing for everyone out there, but it will provide a stable residence with supportive services to many of those most in need.

It would be a tragedy to miss this opportunity.

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