Thursday, November 29, 2007

Latest Numbers on Homelessness in SF

The latest numbers from the SF Human Services Agency on homelessness in SF since 2004 when Gavin Newsom took office. Note that the Newsom administration has moved 6,388 homeless single adults off the streets and/or out of the shelter system into permanent housing. The County Adult Assistance Program is what used to be called General Assistance. Before Care Not Cash, the city was giving cash grants of $300-$400 a month to homeless people:

Care Not Cash:

* Decline in CAAP (County Adult Assistance Program) homeless caseload from April 2004 to October 2007: from 2,334 to 381 (a decline of 84%).

* Number of supportive housing units financed through Care Not Cash from Jan. 2004 to Nov. 2007: 1,321

* Number of CAAP homeless placed in housing via Care Not Cash from Jan., 2004 to Nov. 2007: 2,088

* Number of CAAP homeless who found housing on their own from May 2004 to Nov. 2007: 578


* Non-CAAP homeless people housed via the Human Services Agency's Housing First Program: 818

* Homeless people housed via the Department of Public Health's Direct Access to Housing (DAH) Program: 979

Homeward Bound: (SF buys homeless people bus tickets)

* Number of CAAP homeless people assisted in returning to home city:

* Average cost per person: $149

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At 10:08 AM, Blogger efsully said...

I don't dispute the numbers you cite or the virtue of what Newsom is trying to do with these various programs. But I can tell you for a fact that to the average San Francisco residents, these statistics fall on deaf ears in that same gauntlet on abusive panhandlers and nasty bums that we had to go through four years ago are still there or have been replaced by new vagrants. And therein lies the problem. It won't matter how much we spend or how many programs Newsom touts as long as we keep importing new vagrants to replace the one we get off the street. Whichever politician addresses THAT problem will be the one I support for mayor next time.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I mostly agree with what you say, that it's not "the same gauntlet" of panhandlers and derelicts that we saw four years ago. The problem is we can't seal our borders, and new would-be vagrants arrive here every day. What Newsom and the city need to do is continue to roust people trying to live in Golden Gate Park and ramp up a more aggressive outreach to get these folks off our streets. The city needs to remake its image from that of a jurisdiction that's a soft touch for vagrants and street people to one that actively discourages this kind of immigration. Even if Mayor Newsom undertakes this image overhaul---and I doubt that he has the heart for it---the Board of Supervisors, the Coalition on Homelessness, the Bay Guardian, etc., will continue to resist. The reigning mythology here in Progressive Land is that homelessness is about poor people and housing. We need to continue to present a more realistic picture of what homelessness really represents in SF: the constant influx of a population of drug abusers and the mentally ill that finds our city a welcoming environment. I posted these numbers to show, first, that the Newsom administration has been rather aggressive since Care Not Cash in changing previous city policy that actually enabled the homeless to continue a derelict way of life at the city's expense.

The second phase of my/our argument has to be that the kind of homelessness we are now seeing in SF really has little to do with poverty and/or housing. It's about drug and alcohol abuse and those who want to maintain a derelict way of life at the city's expense.


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