An update from the Chronic Homelessness Initiative
An update from the Chronic Homelessness Initiative
Dear Colleagues,
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
Happy New Year! Now, let’s get to work on effectively addressing homelessness by demanding more action and urgency than ever before to get the job done.
In December, the Prop C committee approved millions of dollars to fund permanent homes for hundreds of people in temporary Shelter-in-Place hotels. This is a big step in the right direction. But, we have to make sure that these units are created immediately  because, even after these people are housed, we will still have over 1,000 people in hotels who need homes. And there are still people on the streets who never got into hotels and need to be housed as soon as possible.
The City has the financial resources and the strategies to house all of these people this year. What it lacks is an overall plan to connect the dots and make sure the money is spent effectively. We are in the process of obtaining formal approval from the City to support the Prop C committee’s development of a collaborative, strategic, and data-informed action plan that will maximize resources for optimal impact.  
San Francisco's progress toward reducing chronic homelessness (through September 2020)

This action plan must be coupled with an analysis of the City’s capacity to meet its goal of effectively doubling the number of people per month that were housed last year. There are real questions about whether it has the bandwidth to do so. We will be looking at this issue very closely over the following weeks as it is critical to the success of this effort.
As we address the challenges, it is also important to identify and celebrate successes. Without successes, we will never solve the problem, transform the system, and effectively meet the challenge of making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. We want to share with you some significant successes from our initiative over the past year.
Chris Block

Spotlight: Leveraging Investments for Impact

As we usher in a new year, we also start the last 18 months of our Chronic Homelessness Initiative (CHI). At its inception in 2017, we set an ambitious goal: to reduce the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness in San Francisco by 50% in five years. 

Our strategic approach to meeting that goal combines investments in programs and organizations that work directly with people experiencing homelessness with targeted support to simultaneously increase the effectiveness of the Homeless Response System. Leveraging long-term public funds to ensure the sustainability of our investments is one of the core operating tenets of CHI.

Working at the systems level, our investments strengthen the infrastructure necessary to respond to homelessness. At the individual level, we continue to focus on ensuring that our investments drive toward greater equity for Black and LGBTQ+ residents in San Francisco. Together, these efforts produce a holistic approach to reducing chronic homelessness in San Francisco. We are optimistic that we will not only meet, but exceed, our initiative’s goal.

Where It's Happening

In the final months of 2020, CHI celebrated the launch or expansion of key programs in partnership with the City of San Francisco, other philanthropic partners, and community-based organizations. These efforts, described in detail below, began as Tipping Point and CHI investments and have since been leveraged to expand and serve more individuals for a greater impact on our community.
833 Bryant: This Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) building utilizes modular construction to reduce the time and cost typically associated with new supportive housing construction. Our partner, the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), and project developer Mercy Housing broke ground on the 145 unit building in September. This public-private partnership includes a long-term lease from the City.
Leverage: The HAF revolved $22 million of its $50 million Tipping Point investment as bridge funding for two Project Homekey developments - the Diva and Granada hotels - resulting in an additional 362 new units of PSH. Accessing State funding through the Project Homekey program, the City will repay the HAF loans at the projects’ completion, allowing our investment to be revolved again for future housing. 
Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool (Flex Pool): The Flex Pool is a nimble strategy that partners with a nonprofit and landlords to secure vacant, market-rate units, and with case management providers to provide supportive services, allowing individuals to get housed more quickly than traditional housing strategies. Tipping Point, joined by other philanthropic investors, committed funding to pay for an initial pilot of 250 units.
Leverage: The pilot, a public-private partnership with the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Brilliant Corners, UCSF Citywide, Dignity Health, and Felton Institute, was co-funded with several philanthropic partners. 
Announced in July, it laid the foundation for program operations. With this infrastructure in place and funding now available from Prop C revenues, the City has announced its intention to expand the Flex Pool by adding approximately 600 placements to house residents exiting Shelter-in-Place hotels.
Behavioral Health and Homelessness Needs and Opportunities: A behavioral health needs and opportunities report, envisioned and funded by CHI and the UCSF Dept. of Psychiatry, brought together diverse stakeholders to align on recommendations for the expansion of behavioral health services in San Francisco, and launched a partnership between CHI and the SF Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement key recommendations.
Leverage: The partnership led CHI to grant $3 million to establish a new community-based Hummingbird Respite Center, which will connect hundreds of unhoused people annually to housing and behavioral health services. We also funded a critical analysis to quantify the precise number and type of treatment beds needed across the entire system of care. This analysis informed the City's plan for the bond that was approved by voters last November, resulting in $107 million for behavioral health, and the release of $44 million from the Prop C fund.
Rising Up and All Home California: Rising Up is a public-private partnership that works to house youth experiencing homelessness and to prevent young people from falling into homelessness. All Home advances regional solutions that disrupt the cycles of poverty and homelessness and create more economic mobility opportunities for extremely low-income people. Both initiatives are grounded in equity and ending poverty and homelessness for the impacted populations. Rising Up and All Home California were launched with the help of Tipping Point and CHI investments.
Leverage: Rising Up and All Home California recently received a $25 million donation from Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and chairman of its charitable arm, paving the way for increased impact across the Bay Area. 

What We're Reading 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to establish a 30 percent rent cap for supportive housing tenants, amounting to roughly 2,800 city subsidized units. (San Francisco Examiner)
Tipping Point funded the evaluation of the Rising Up campaign, launched in 2018 to address the homelessness crisis among young adults.  This January 2021 report from the Urban Institute documents the program’s early successes and primary barriers encountered during its first year of implementation. (Urban Institute)
CHI Director Chris Block speaks with The Frisc about the initiative’s focus on chronic homelessness and the data analysis in place to track how the City is progressing on its goals to house thousands of individuals each year. (The Frisc)

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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