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Homelessness Recovery Plan and Housing Expansion

In July 2020, Mayor London Breed announced the Homelessness Recovery Plan, which includes a slate of investments in housing, shelter and prevention, that prioritizes housing as healthcare and ensures that the City’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic takes into account our most vulnerable residents.
The page offers information on the Homelessness Recovery Plan and Housing Expansion:
This page is an overview of the Mayor's plan to expand housing and services 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 COVID-19 Rehousing page to learn about how the City connects Shelter-in-Place (SIP) hotel guests to housing.
Visit the Shelter Recovery page to learn how the City works to increase bed capacity in the existing shelter system.

Homelessness Recovery Plan Overview

The implementation of COVID-informed public health policy resulted in a temporary pause of new intakes and a significant loss of capacity within the congregate shelter system during the early days of the pandemic, initially reducing the system capacity by over 70%. These life-saving measures were necessary and effective at mitigating the community spread of the pandemic, however resulted in many losing access to temporary shelter.
The City acted quickly to protect people experiencing homelessness facing the highest risk from the virus by opening 25 “Shelter-in-Place” (SIP) hotels, as well as other temporary shelter resources within the City’s COVID-19 Alternative Shelter Program. The City worked with nonprofit providers to implement public health guidance that allowed for COVID-informed expansion of congregate shelters. Throughout the pandemic, the City continued to connect people to housing and other resources using Problem Solving and Prevention, Rapid Rehousing (RRH), and Permanent Supportive Housing resources.
The Homelessness Recovery Plan launches the City’s work to recover from the effects of COVID-19 and make a significant impact on homelessness in San Francisco. The Plan creates a minimum of 6,000 placements to: 
  • Offer equitable housing and services to mitigate the impact of institutional racism and support youth, families, and adults.
  • Ensure that people exiting Shelter in Place (SIP) hotels are connected to the Homeless Response System and exit to stability.
  • Decrease homelessness in San Francisco in alignment with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s (HSH) 5-Year Strategic Framework

Summary of Homelessness Recovery Plan Goals

The Homelessness Recovery Plan moves the City from response to recovery by setting a series of system goals.
Housing Goals
Housing is the solution to homelessness and the Mayor’s plan is centered around the largest expansion of permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness in the last 20 years.
  • Purchase or lease 1,500 units of permanent supportive housing by June 2022, including expansion of the Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool.
  • Make 3,000 placements into existing permanent supportive housing or units already in the pipeline by June 2022.
  • Expand alternative housing options, such as Rapid Rehousing, Problem Solving, and Prevention.
The City established life-saving emergency measures in the response to COVID-19, including the Alternative Shelter Program and its 25 Shelter-in-Place (SIP) hotels. As the City recovers, the Homelessness Recovery Plan includes goals for rehousing and winding down the emergency response. As the City recovers, the Homelessness Recovery Plan ensures guests in these temporary hotels are offered stable exits, including permanent housing, problem solving, and shelter.  
Even as the City transferred many COVID-vulnerable shelter guests to SIP hotels at the start of the pandemic, the Homelessness Recovery Plan has set goals for re-inflating shelters, opening new congregate shelter programs, and maintaining innovative programs launched as part of the COVID-19 response.
  • GOAL COMPLETE: Re-inflate shelters to 1,000 beds by August 2020;
  • Continue reinflation to approximately 2,100 beds (original capacity) when safe to do so;
  • GOAL COMPLETE: Continue Navigation Center expansions as planned (two new Navigation Centers opened in early 2021);
  • Maintain Safe Sleep program;
  • Permanently sustain the Trailer Program as a shelter offering.
Implementation of the Homelessness Recovery Plan is a City priority, and many departments are collaborating to achieve the Mayor’s goals:
  • The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) manages the City’s Homelessness Response System, including the pipeline of housing resources and the Coordinated Entry System used to link eligible individuals to appropriate placements.
  • The Department of Emergency Management (DEM) oversees the broader COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • The Human Services Agency (HSA) supports the development and management of alternative shelter options, including the SIP hotels.
  • The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) and other departments support the City to acquire new housing
  • The Department of Public Health (DPH) provides guidance on safe practices across the system of care.
“Ultimately, housing is the solution to homelessness, and by expanding access to housing and other supports, we can create real opportunities for people to get off the streets and create a path… to a fuller, healthier life.”
                                                                                                                -Mayor London N. Breed

Housing Expansion Goals: Increase Housing Options and Placements

The foundation of the Homelessness Recovery Plan is the development of new housing options and the placement of households into units already in the HSH supportive housing portfolio or in the pipeline for development. There is no way to accurately predict how much support someone may need to resolve their homelessness and avoid a return to the streets or shelter, so our system needs to remain flexible and offer a range of solutions.
Permanent Supportive Housing: HSH is launching new Flexible Subsidy Housing Pool or Flex Pool units and a strike team of City partners is leading a process to acquire and develop new Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) options. The “scattered site” Flex Pool includes long-term rental assistance and supportive services to help vulnerable individuals maintain their housing in the community permanently.  Additional placements will be made available when existing units turnover.
Rapid Rehousing, Problem Solving, and Prevention: HSH is expanding short-and medium-term rental assistance programs, including;
  • Rapid Rehousing: Rental assistance programs, including Rapid Rehousing (RRH), offer up to 24 months of subsidized rent in the private market, housing support services, and employment services to help adults, youth and families grow their income.
  • Problem Solving: The Problem Solving program offers short-term housing assistance grants to help individuals quickly resolve their homelessness on their own or with small amounts of support.
  • Prevention: HSH and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) collaborate to implement targeted homelessness prevention strategies, which is the most effective solution for at-risk households, preventing even more people from experiencing homelessness over time.
The dashboard cards below show the City’s progress toward increasing our housing options and placing individuals in new and existing housing units. Placements are updated on a monthly basis.
Additional units may be in the planning phases or recently funded but are not yet under contract. See below for a full accounting of housing in the pipeline by population and housing type.
Placements into Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) include units in traditional project-based PSH sites and scattered site Flex Pool placements throughout the community. Guests may be placed from Shelter-in-Place hotels or from other locations throughout the system, including sheltered and unsheltered settings.
Additional units may be in the planning phases or recently funded but are not yet under contract.

Current Housing Pipeline

The data in the dashboard below reflects available and planned resources within the housing portfolio. Many of these resources will be needed to achieve the Homelessness Recovery Plan’s rehousing goal of making 2,200 placements into a variety of housing options. Other resources in the pipeline may be available for youth, families and adults experiencing homelessness elsewhere in the system.
The City is actively working to bring new housing options online to support the Homelessness Recovery Plan’s housing goals. Housing interventions include those mentioned above: Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), Rapid Rehousing (RRH) and Problem Solving.
In the dashboard below:
  • “Available Inventory” represents housing resources that are currently available for placement.  
  • “Planned Inventory” represents housing resources that have been funded and are anticipated to be available before June 30, 2022.
 There are many terms used in these dashboards that may be new to those unfamiliar with the process. Please see the glossary at the bottom of the page for more information about each term.

Glossary of Terms