Earlier this summer, the City and County of San Francisco published the results of its point-in-time census and survey of homeless people. The “PIT count,” a comprehensive tally of sheltered and unsheltered homeless, is conducted every two years. The canvass found that homelessness slightly decreased since 2015, bucking a regional trend in which homelessness has significantly increased.
The 2017 count found 7,499 people experiencing homelessness — compared to 7,539 in 2015 — with 3,840 of those unsheltered, a bit more than 50 percent. Upwards of 1,000 of “unsheltered” individuals live in encampments.
Around the same time as release of the PIT count, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing – whose mission is to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring –produced a progress report on its initial year of operation. During its first year DHSH provided shelter to 5,633 adults, and assisted more than 1,950 people exit homelessness through a combination of permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, and homeward bound, which provides bus tickets.
DHSH is developing a comprehensive, “common sense, compassionate, strategic framework” to guide its work, scheduled to be released this month, “outlining a radical transformation of the Homelessness Response System and clearly defined, obtainable goals for the next five years.” The Department asserts that, in addition to launching Navigation Centers and increasing supportive housing supplies, its making significant changes to the way it coordinates entry into the shelter system, track data and resolve homeless encampments.
Still, San Franciscans remain unsatisfied by the City’s efforts related to homelessness, with complaints continuing largely unabated about a lack of effective municipal response to encampments.