Homelessness Benchmarking

The dashboards below show how San Francisco compares to peer jurisdictions in terms of the homeless population, certain homeless sub-populations, and supportive housing. These benchmarking results provide useful information for the public and policymakers to assess how San Francisco compares to similar peer jurisdictions and to identify areas for further research and awareness. It is important to note that benchmark comparisons must always be informed by the context of the geographic area surveyed; for example, the climate, housing market, other unique physical constraints, and historical context of San Francisco and each of our peer cities should inform the data shown below.

Please note that while the Controller’s Office has made efforts to ensure the data is as consistent as possible across peers, benchmark comparisons are not always apples-to-apples. This is especially true for homelessness and Point in Time (PIT) Counts, as these PIT counts are implemented and managed within each city's unique constraints. The data is from a variety of open, public data sources, including Point in Time (PIT) counts published by each of our peers and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data on Continuums of Care (CoC).

 

HOMELESSNESS

The first two slides of the dashboard below use homelessness data and shelter rates from PIT Count Reports published by each of our peers. On the third slide, in order to look at homelessness over time, we used U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data on Continuums of Care (CoC). While these CoC boundaries do not always align exactly with city boundaries, we show the CoCs that contain selected peer cities.

HOMELESS SUBGROUPS

In order to compare specific populations within the homeless population, we used the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data on Continuums of Care (CoC). While these CoC boundaries do not always align exactly with city boundaries, we show the CoCs that contain our peer cities. Please note this data differs from the San Francisco Point-In-Time Count because San Francisco has a broader definition of homelessness, which includes harder-to-reach populations, i.e. “individuals who were “doubled-up” in the homes of family or friends, staying in jails, hospitals, or rehabilitation facilities, and families living in Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units” (p.11, San Francisco 2017 Homeless Count & Survey).

HOUSING & SHELTER

The following dashboards display permanent and temporary housing data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD collects and publishes housing data annually in the Housing Inventory Count (HIC). While we are only benchmarking housing data (because that is all HUD collects), supportive housing is not the only solution to homelessness.

To address the numerous contributing factors that lead to homelessness, the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (along with the Department of Public Health, the Human Services Agency, and others) offer and fund many other services in addition to housing. These services include one-time assistance, such as eviction prevention, legal services, relocations programs (Homeward Bound), family reunification, mediation, move-in assistance, as well as flexible grants to address issues related to housing and employment. Having numerous tools enables the department to take a problem-solving approach to homelessness, instead of a “one size fits all” approach. The SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Five-Year Strategic Framework includes more details on this approach.