Direct Homeless Exits Through City Programs

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Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing

FY 2016-17
Result: 1,596 exits
Target: 1,570 exits (Permanent Supportive Housing = 820, Homeward Bound = 750)

FY 2015-16
Result: 1,649 exits

This metric combines exits from homelessness through programs that were formerly operated by the Human Services Agency (HSA) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) through the end of FY 2015-16. Beginning in FY 2016-17, these programs were merged under the new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (DHSH). These programs include permanent supportive housing, subsidized housing with case management services, and Homeward Bound, which assists homeless individuals in reuniting with family or friends. This metric is important because permanent supportive housing and Homeward Bound are the city’s key programs that directly create exits from homelessness for some of San Francisco’s most vulnerable citizens.


How the City is Performing

The chart above displays all permanent supporting housing placements through June 30, 2017.

San Francisco met its FY 2016-17 target with 1,596 individuals exiting homelessness through permanent supportive housing or the Homeward Bound program. The number of individuals and families placed in permanent supportive housing was lower in the first half of FY 2016-17 than historic trends for that period, while the number of individuals reunited with family and friends through Homeward Bound was more consistent with historic trends.

Supportive housing placements depend on having housing units available. Fewer individuals and families exited homelessness due to placement in permanent supportive housing in FY 2015-16 compared to FY 2014-15, though placements exceeded the target and there are a number of new buildings in the pipeline for DHSH housing programs. Compared to FY 2014-15, more homeless were reunited with family and friends through Homeward Bound in FY 2015-16. Part of this growth is likely attributable to the increased staffing and resources provided to the Homeward Bound program. In FY 2015-16, the Homeward Bound program increased by six staff members, to make a total team of eight.

In FY 2015-16, HSA assisted 566 individuals (including single adults and members of families) in exiting homelessness through placement in permanent supportive housing. The agency outperformed its annual target of 500 by 13 percent. HSA served 880 individuals through the Homeward Bound program, outperforming its target of 750 by 17 percent.

As of December 2016, the City is on track to reach it's target of 1,570 exits from homelessness by the end of FY 2016-17. DHSH will continue working towards implementing a coordinated entry system for the City’s supportive housing portfolio through FY 2016-17. The goal of the coordinated entry system is to assess and identify families and individuals in order to best match client needs to housing exits, prioritizing those most in need of the intervention. Coordinated entry is being used for placing homeless veterans and will soon be used for families as well. DHSH plans to fully implement a coordinated entry system by October 2018.

Future increases in placements in permanent supportive housing will depend largely on available funding to open new sites and the timeline for construction of new units. Each new site that is opened leads to an immediate spike in placements as the site is filled for the first time. After that, placements only occur when a unit becomes vacant. There are currently a number of new buildings in DHSH’s supportive housing pipeline. As opening dates for new units are confirmed, it will be possible to identify when placement spikes are likely to occur.

In late 2015, management of the Homeward Bound program was transferred from HSA’s County Adult Assistance Programs (CAAP) to HSA’s Housing and Homeless Program. The goal of the Housing and Homeless Program is to help individuals exit homelessness and align Homeward Bound with CAAP for more targeted service delivery (including but not limited to CAAP clients). The Housing and Homeless Program, including Homeward Bound, transitioned into DHSH.

Below are the permanent supportive housing programs included in the Homeless Exits Though City Programs performance measure:

  • Master Lease: DHSH leases single room occupancy (SRO) buildings and contracts nonprofits to provide property management and supportive services. Some buildings are funded through Care Not Cash (CNC), an initiative passed by San Francisco voters in 2004 to transfer some of the city’s cash assistance to homeless persons to investments in supportive housing. DHSH only refers CAAP clients to CNC buildings. DHSH refers both CAAP and non-CAAP clients, many of whom are Supplemental Security (SSI) recipients, to the non-CNC buildings.
  • Shelter+Care: The Shelter+Care Program provides rental assistance to chronically homeless single adults and families with disabilities related to severe mental health, substance abuse, and disabling HIV/AIDS. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds the rental assistance, and San Francisco uses local general funds to provide the supportive services.
  • Local Operating Subsidy Program (LOSP): The Mayor’s Office of Housing finances new developments that are owned by non-profit organizations. DHSH controls tenant referrals to each site and provides both an operating subsidy and supportive services funding.
  • Direct Access to Housing (DAH): These sites, formerly operated by DPH, target low-income San Francisco residents who are homeless and have special needs. DAH is a “low threshold” program that accepts adults into permanent housing directly from the streets, shelters, hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Homeward Bound: The Homeward Bound program pays transportation costs to reunite homeless persons living in San Francisco with family and friends willing and able to offer ongoing support to end the cycle of homelessness.

How Performance is Measured

Housing Placement data is summarized by program type and reported by the individual housing providers through the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (DHSH). DHSH maintained a database to track clients served by the Homeward Bound program. The database contains a report that summarizes the number of clients served by month. These programs were previously administered through the Human Services Agency and Department of Public Health. DHSH took over all data collection and reporting functions for these programs during FY 2016-17.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year-to-date sum.

Additional Information


Please click first on the chart above and then click the “Download” button in the bottom right corner of the visualization to view and download the data displayed in the chart.