An update from the Chronic Homelessness Initiative
An update from the Chronic Homelessness Initiative
Dear Colleagues,
“For it is not light that is needed but fire; it is not the gentle shower but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened…the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed.” - Frederick Douglass at the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, July 5, 1852
Funders who care about racial disparities and homelessness face a challenge: it is perhaps impossible for us to have anywhere near the same urgency as people who are directly living the experience. As people of good will, we can be the light, but what is needed is the fire. For these reasons, we look to support (be the light) for groups that are on fire because of the urgency of their experience. Our work at the Chronic Homelessness Initiative allows us to do just that by partnering with organizations that support our unhoused neighbors from a lens of racial justice.
In our continued partnership with the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and
Supportive Housing, we are funding their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts to identify the disparities that exist within the homelessness response system. The inequities can show up in the form of who is able to access services, who is prioritized for housing, and who actually moves into housing. The Department will work with a leading consultant to focus its efforts on ensuring equitable access to housing and services and supporting organizations led by leaders of color and lived experience.
One such organization is the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP),a new CHI grantee and trailblazing organization running leadership development, employment, housing, and reentry programs for the transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) community in San Francisco. It is well-respected for policy work at the local and state levels and is one of the first and only legal advocacy and support organizations led by formerly incarcerated Black trans women. TGIJP plays a pivotal role in ensuring that people living at the margins have a voice at the center.
I invite you to read this month’s Spotlight to learn more about the CHI team’s commitments to racial justice and the incredible work happening at TGIJP. With our grantees and partners across this initiative, we are working to give individuals what they need to thrive.
Chris Block

Spotlight: Centering Voices From the Margins

As we approach the end of a year that has seen widespread calls for equity, our team reflects on the commitments it made to racial justice through our All In Campaign earlier this year. In the spirit of transparency and accountability, we have compiled our reflections and are proud to share them with you on our CHI blog.
These commitments have come to life in the form a new grant to the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a well-established advocacy and direct service non-profit that provides innovative re-entry and housing programming for transgender people of color in San Francisco since 2004.
Black, LGBTQ+ and justice-involved individuals are overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. Further, transgender and gender non-conforming people of color face high barriers to housing stability and are often unsupported or overlooked by existing systems of care.
Our 18-month grant will support the organization in meeting the direct housing needs of formerly incarcerated transgender and gender non-conforming community members, and scale their innovative re-entry program for transgender women of color leaving incarceration.
A grant to TGIJP brings the additional benefit of working with a leader who shares lived experience with TGIJP’s clientele, a valuable perspective in delivering critical services and pursuing systemic change in our homeless response system.

Who's Making It Happen

Janetta Johnson, Executive Director, TGIJP 
“Many of the people we're now serving are people that other organizations have given up on or who were turned away by organizations that are not trans-friendly. Many of the people we are now housing have spent years living in the back alleys of the Tenderloin with nowhere to go. Now we have the funds to really launch TGIJP's vision for a housing program serving Black transgender folks. And we're so excited that the housing program is being overseen by my dear friend John McKinley, because it is rooted in years of our conversations about how we can best serve the community"
Janetta Louise Johnson (she/her) has been the Executive Director at TGIJP since 2014. She is a formerly incarcerated Black transgender woman and has been an activist and advocate in the transgender communities since 1997. She survived three and a half years in federal prison and, while inside, tirelessly advocated for her rights as an incarcerated transgender person. After her release, she returned to her work with non-profits and social service agencies with increased compassion for people on the inside of jails and prisons.

She is a fierce advocate for transgender people who are currently incarcerated, working to improve their lives through legislative campaigns while also fighting for the abolition of prisons at large. Janetta is committed to building strategies and interventions to reduce the recidivism rate of the transgender community by providing leadership development to those currently being released from custody. In alignment with Tipping Point’s grant, she also fights to ensure that trans people coming out of jails and prisons have a safe place to go for housing, jobs, and community.

What We're Reading 

San Francisco has started moving individuals out of shelter-in-place hotel placements this month, and this article underscores the need for a clear, transparent plan to ensure no one who received COVID-19-related shelter will return to the streets. (San Francisco Chronicle)
An op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle urges lawmakers to commit to housing people experiencing homelessness instead of criminalizing individuals for sleeping on the street when they have nowhere else to turn. (San Francisco Chronicle)
The 2020 election results in California demonstrate a broad desire for criminal justice reform, supporting a series of changes after a summer of mass protests sparked debate over the role of policing and catalyzed action around issues of racial justice. (Los Angeles Times)

Chronic Homelessness Initiative Overview

There are approximately 3,000 people experiencing chronic homelessness on any given night in San Francisco. Tipping Point’s $100 million pledge marks the single largest private investment to address homelessness in City history.

Tipping Point takes a three-pronged approach to our impact goal. See here for more details. If you are receiving this email as a forward, subscribe here to receive this update monthly.
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