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Shelter Recovery and New Shelter Programs

The City's Temporary Shelter system was particularly impacted by COVID-19 due to the need to adequately distance guests to prevent the spread of the virus. While many COVID-vulnerable shelter guests moved into SIP hotels early in the pandemic, HSH and the COVID-19 Command Center also established new emergency temporary shelter programs and implemented public health mitigation and prevention strategies to allow the safer reactivation of existing temporary shelter programs.
 This page shares the following information about Temporary Shelter Programs:
This page is about the recovery and expansion of existing shelters and shelter programs in the City.
Visit the Homelessness Recovery Plan page to learn about the Mayor's plan to expand housing for people experiencing homelessness.
Visit the COVID-19 Alternative Shelter Program page to learn how the City opened temporary shelters in response to the pandemic.
Visit the Rehousing page to learn about how the City connects Shelter-in-Place (SIP) hotel guests to housing.

Status of the Congregate Shelter System

Early in the pandemic, the City implemented COVID-informed public health guidance for congregate-style shelters that included prevention and mitigation practices such as social distancing, increased cleaning protocols, and health screenings. As part of the implementation of this guidance, individuals vulnerable to COVID-19 in existing congregate shelters were offered placement into the Shelter-in-Place (SIP) hotels. The implementation of COVID-informed public health policy resulted in a temporary pause of new intakes into congregate shelters as well as a loss of capacity within the congregate shelter portfolio. 
Congregate shelters have and will continue to remain open and operating, although at a lower, COVID-informed capacity per public health guidelines. New intakes are accepted at congregate sites that have adopted and implemented COVID-informed public health guidance. Referrals to some congregate shelter are managed through the COVID-19 Command Center’s centralized placement process, while others are managed by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) and its partner programs. Referrals are voluntary and limited based on availability. Some individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness may not be interested in congregate shelter at the time the resource is offered, remaining unsheltered.

Temporary Shelter Goals: Recovery and Expansion

Temporary shelters play a key role in helping individuals stabilize indoors while accessing resources to help them end their homelessness. The Homelessness Recovery Plan envisions adding 1,500 additional placement opportunities for individuals on the street by reactivating congregate beds, expanding shelter options, and maintaining the emergency shelters established during COVID-19 response.
Congregate shelter reactivation is closely tied to safety protocols established by the Department of Public Health. Full reactivation is being planned in alignment with City and COVID-19 Command Center policies on vaccination and reopening. In addition to reactivating existing shelters, HSH has launched two new Navigation Center programs in 2021:
  • Bayview SAFE Navigation Center opened on January 25, 2021, adding 116 beds at COVID-informed capacity, and up to 203 when at full capacity.
  • TAY Navigation Center opened on February 8, 2021, adding 43 beds at COVID-informed capacity for youth ages 18 to 24, and up to 75 beds when at full capacity.
The City received 120 trailers to use as non-congregate shelter settings for COVID-vulnerable individuals. While this resource is currently a part of the COVID response, the Homelessness Recovery Plan envisions these trailers will be permanently maintained by HSH as a temporary shelter option after the pandemic ends. Similarly, the Homelessness Recovery Plan sustains some level of Safe Sleep operations (see below).

Current Shelter Occupancy

HSH operates an array of temporary shelter programs for adults, youth and families. Shelters include congregate settings as well as facilities with private rooms. While facilities with private rooms have been able to operate at near-normal capacity throughout the pandemic, congregate shelters have implemented safe spacing measures and operate with lowered occupancy (“COVID Adjusted Capacity”).
Capacity at these shelters may increase over time based on Public Health guidance. Occupancy may also increase and decrease over time due to pauses in intakes. Shelters pause intakes for COVID-19 testing events and investigations of COVID-19 positive cases. When intakes are paused occupancy will drop, this accounts for the “underutilization” seen in the occupancy data. Some temporary shelters serve individuals with specific needs (e.g. stabilization beds) and referrals are made on an as-needed basis.
How to use the dashboard below:
  • Use the green drop-down filters on the left to look at specific types of shelters, congregate and non-congregate shelter, and shelters by population served.
  • Click the little "i" button on the top right corner for more information and data notes.
This dashboard only includes shelter programs operated by HSH. The COVID-19 Command Center (CCC) launched and continues to operate and manage a new emergency congregate shelter program (“Site A”). This program, which is reflected in congregate data on the Alternative Shelter page, is in a temporary facility and will demobilize when the COVID response concludes. Lower occupancy rates reflect the need to pause intakes to shelter for COVID-19 testing events and investigations of COVID-19 positive cases.

Safe Sleep Overview

To respond to the pandemic, the City and its community partners have taken a human-centered approach to provide people experiencing homelessness with safe and clean places to sleep and access to services and sanitation if other existing resources are not available or desired. One new strategy is the Safe Sleep Program. This low-barrier and COVID-informed program offers 24/7 access, connects clients to resources and services to help them safely shelter in place, and provides a connection to the Homelessness Response System to work toward an exit from homelessness. The program aims to implement public health guidelines in a dignified way to keep unsheltered individuals safe during the pandemic and maximize the number of residents that have a safe place to shelter in place.
Safe Sleep Villages are designated City-managed locations where people can safely sleep in tents off the sidewalks and remain socially distanced from each other. Safe Sleep Villages provide guests with access to behavioral health and harm reduction services, access to medical attention and benefits, food and water, access to hygiene services, including showers, charging stations, and garbage service. There is 24/7 security and service provider staffing at each site to ensure a safe environment and help support the well-being of guests through regular check-ins and management of inflow/outflow from the site. 
See the dashboard below for more information on the capacity of the Safe Sleep Program and the individuals served. Please note, some tent spaces allow for more than one individual, resulting in a higher current individual census than the number of tent spaces active.
May 2021 Update: Due to a transition to a new database, the dashboard below is out of date. We will update this as soon as possible. See up-to-date data on Safe Sleep guests on the Alternative Housing page.