SAN FRANCISCO—SF Mayor Edwin M. Lee
has announced that legislation has been put in place to help the fight against chronic homelessness for veterans in the region. The City is planning to lease a 136-unit building located at 250 Kearny Street in the Financial District.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s website, Airbnb pledged funds for volunteer projects and for volunteers to assist in preparing the building for its new residents.
“Earlier this year, I accepted President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to end chronic veteran’s 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 sf.citi and the technology sector to partner with San Francisco to end veteran’s homelessness once and for all.”
The City of San Francisco has been working alongside the 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. The HUD VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) has allowed more than 500 former homeless veterans in SF to rent apartment in the private market.
The 250 Kearny site provides high-quality housing to over 130 former homeless veterans in a secure neighborhood. The units will consist of a private bath, large communal kitchen and on-site social workers and staff. Vets who are considered vulnerable and have been homeless for long periods of time are being targeted for the new 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.”
The San Francisco VA Medical Center has committed to provided nearly $500,000 yearly to assist with support services on the site that include social work, medical and mental health resources. The City’s General Fund will cover the other $800,000 in costs.
“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.”
The Mayor is expecting 250 Kearny to be available for lease by the end of the year.
By LaDale Anderson