150 people become homeless every week in SF — how the city’s working to change that

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The City of San Francisco budgets about $250 million per year for the homelessness.

The bulk of that money or 65 percent goes towards permanent affordable housing, many with supportive services.

“We have 9,000 folks on any given night that are formerly homeless who we are housing and keeping housed every night,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, spokeswoman with the San Francisco Department of Homelessness.

Another 18 percent is earmarked for navigation centers, shelters and homeless outreach.

Still with all that money being spent, on any given day there remains at least 7,500 people on San Francisco’s streets and that number is holding because people are becoming homeless at a faster rate than existing homeless people are being moved into housing.

“In San Francisco, our data shows we exit 50 from people from homelessness every week and 150 people are newly homeless every week,” she said.

City officials say one of the goals moving forward is to create safety nets so people don’t fall into homelessness.

“Yes we need more permanent supportive housing and more shelter, but we need to focus more on prevention and diversion or problem solving which helps people at the time of housing crisis to not come into the system and end up chronically homeless years later,” Stewart-Kahn said.

There is also the issue of substance abuse and mental illness among a smaller but more visual percentage of the homeless population.

Supervisors are already talking about beefing up funding in those areas.

“The state has defunded many areas to care for people we have lost,” said San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “At a lot of board and care capacity we have not been able to expand our substance abuse treatment beds over the last 20 years significantly, so there are a lot of areas additional investment would help.”

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