SAN FRANCISCO—On Thursday, May 10 Mayor Mark Farrell revealed that approximately $30 million in additional general fund investments in the next fiscal year for homelessness prevention initiatives, supportive housing programs and other measures to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.

“San Francisco’s homeless problem has become a crisis, and as Mayor I have been committed to tackle the issue head on,” said Mayor Mark Farrell. “These investments focus on programs and policies that have been proven to work, and will make a difference on the streets of San Francisco. Our residents deserve it.”

Mayor Farrell put homelessness measures on the top of his agenda, and the $29.1 million package of new funding investments include:

-Doubling San Francisco’s Homeward Bound program.

-Expanded shelter capacity.

-Full funding for the four new Navigation Centers slated to open in the next year.

-Nearly 200 housing units for formerly homeless residents in new affordable housing buildings and in a hotel in the SoMa District.

According to the Mayor’s Office, Homeward Bound—a program that reunites individuals with friends and family members—helped over 900 people last year. During the first eight months of 2017, less than four percent of those served returned to San Francisco to access homelessness resources. Mayor Farrell is expected to double the current funding levels for Homeward Bound, with an additional $1.2 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Mayor’s homelessness funding package includes $2 million to support 147 units in newly constructed affordable housing sites set aside for formerly homeless residents coming on line next year. The funding will pay for operating subsidies and supportive services to guarantee these tenants have the resources needed to remain in their new homes.

The budget will provide $2 million for the opening and operation of the Minna Lee Hotel, a master leased building with 50 units in the SoMa District. The 197 new permanent supportive homes will bring the city of San Francisco to have approximately 7,700 total units, the most per capita of any city in the county. The Mayor’s budget will include $1.5 million a year in enhanced supportive services at permanent supportive housing sites.

Mayor Farrell’s homelessness package will continue investments in the Navigation Center pipeline, funding $15.2 million for four facilities, including one explicitly catering to women and expectant mothers. Other key investments include $1 million for rapid rehousing programs for Transitional Age Youth (TAY), and the creation of two new access points that provide resources, support and services for families and residents struggling to remain out of homelessness.

The $29.1 million in additional investments represent an 11.7 percent increase to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s current $250 million annual budget.

“The Mayor’s proposed budget adds significant resources to San Francisco’s Homelessness Response System,” said Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “To be successful in our efforts to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time we have to invest in proven programs that help prevent and end homelessness. The proposed budged will help us reduce the number of people who are becoming homeless and in need of emergency services while also investing in proven solutions like permanent supportive housing and navigation centers. This budget reflects the priorities outlined in HSH’s strategic framework and moves us closer to our goal of reducing homelessness in San Francisco.”

The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) goal is to make homelessness in San Francisco rare, brief and a one-time occurrence through the provision of coordinated, compassionate and high-quality services. It was established in 2016 and the HSH consolidates and coordinates citywide homeless serving programs and contracts.

Written By Casey Jacobs