Supervisor Mark Farrell Releases New Comprehensive Homeless Supportive Housing Report and Will Call for Public Hearing on Supportive Housing for the Homeless Improvements

For Immediate Release

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Supervisor Mark Farrell released one of the most comprehensive supportive housing reports compiled to date that examines the cost and subsidy variations in supportive housing programs and buildings citywide, with a specific focus on the difference between master-leased and non-profit owned units; and a review of the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) and Human Services Agency’s (HSA) contracts to identify and compare procedures for client in-take, assessment, compliance, and outcomes. The report can be found in full here:http://www.sfbos.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=51064. The City’s Budget and Legislative Analyst (BLA) compiled the report after Supervisor Farrell made the request at a Board of Supervisors meeting in March.

Supervisor Farrell will also call for a public hearing at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting on the recently released City Services Auditor report on HSA’s supportive housing portfolio and the BLA report released today. The City Services Auditor report, titled, “Moving Beyond Stability: Service Utilization and Client Trajectories in San Francisco’s Permanent Supportive Housing,” provides an in-depth analysis of HSA’s supportive housing portfolio and their tenants. The report can be found in full here: http://sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=6014.

“Both of these City reports on supportive housing for the homeless are some of the first comprehensive analyses since San Francisco instituted our “housing first” policy, which prioritized the building of supportive housing in order to house as many of the homeless as possible,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “While both reports affirm supportive housing as cost-effective and necessary, they also provide concrete recommendations that the City should explore and implement in order to reduce our overall homeless population and help the formerly homeless become self sufficient. I look forward to discussing those recommendations at my upcoming hearing.”

The BLA’s report affirms the effectiveness of supportive housing for housing stability, notes the escalating costs to building new supportive housing units, provides recommendations that both DPH and HSA can implement to better track the outcomes of their clients, and calls for the City to convene a working group to update the City’s policies on supportive housing, including:

  • The feasibility of moving to a City-wide coordinated assessment system; 
  • More comprehensive performance measures to better understand client outcomes, trajectories, and service utilization, and to enable greater comparison between providers; 
  • The permanency of supportive housing; 
  • The availability and cost of alternative housing; and 
  • The projected future costs of maintaining and expanding the City’s supportive housing portfolio

The City Services Auditor report on HSA’s supportive housing portfolio focuses on: client characteristics, services provided, service gaps, public benefit utilization, health care utilization, client trajectories, and length of stay and client exits. The report also provides recommendations in four key areas: service provision, service quality and effectiveness, program administration, and program goals.

“San Francisco has always played a national leadership role on homelessness policy. We have the chance to lead again with new policies and proposals to help house more of the homeless and help more of the formerly homeless become self sufficient,” stated Supervisor Mark Farrell. “We cannot simply continue to accept the status quo as thousands of families, individuals, and veterans continue to live on our City streets.”

Supervisor Farrell will bring together the Directors and housing staff of DPH and HSA to discuss the reports at his hearing, the steps needed for improvement in service delivery and outcomes they plan on taking in the immediate and long-term future, and the possibility of new legislative proposals to address: contract compliance, better performance measure outcomes, public benefits utilization among their tenants, and the transitioning of able supportive housing tenants to less service intensive, affordable housing opportunities. Supervisor Farrell will also reach out to homeless and housing service providers, and supportive housing tenants to have input during the hearing as well.

Supervisor Farrell will bring together the Directors and housing staff of DPH and HSA to discuss the reports at his hearing, the steps needed for improvement in service delivery and outcomes they plan on taking in the immediate and long-term future, and the possibility of new legislative proposals to address: contract compliance, better performance measure outcomes, public benefits utilization among their tenants, and the transitioning of able supportive housing tenants to less service intensive, affordable housing opportunities. Supervisor Farrell will also reach out to homeless and housing service providers, and supportive housing tenants to have input during the hearing as well.

Supervisor Farrell plans to schedule his hearing at a Board of Supervisor’s committee meeting in February.

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