Supervisor Mark Farrell to Introduce Reforms to the City’s Care Not Cash for the Homeless Program

SAN FRANCISCO – At today’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Mark Farrell will introduce an ordinance that will create a three-year rental assistance pilot project for County Adult Assistance Programs (CAAP/Care Not Cash) participants and codify a process for imposing sanctions for failures to comply with the requirements of CAAP to help keep vulnerable populations secure in their housing and lower their risk of eviction.

Supervisor Mark Farrell to Introduce Reforms to the City’s Care Not Cash for the Homeless Program

 SAN FRANCISCO – At today’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Mark Farrell will introduce an ordinance that will create a three-year rental assistance pilot project for County Adult Assistance Programs (CAAP/Care Not Cash) participants and codify a process for imposing sanctions for failures to comply with the requirements of CAAP to help keep vulnerable populations secure in their housing and lower their risk of eviction.

 

“Keeping the formerly homeless housed will continue to save our City valuable resources in the long-run and stop individuals from cycling back into homelessness,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “This ordinance reaffirms San Francisco’s commitment to keeping people housed through our Care not Cash program.”

 

The San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) administers CAAP for the City and County, which provides financial assistance and social services to indigent adults who have no other source of income or benefits. The primary goal of CAAP is to reduce homelessness and improve the health and welfare of homeless indigent adults receiving cash assistance through permanent housing opportunities and enhanced services. For CAAP participants who are placed in supportive housing through HSA’s Care not Cash program, benefits consist of placement in housing and a monthly cash grant paid directly to the participant, a portion of which is required to be used to pay rent to the housing provider.

 Currently, after a third instance in which HSA determines that a CAAP participant has failed or refused to follow the program requirements, HSA notifies the recipient that their benefits will be discontinued. Clients who become sanctioned after their third noncompliance usually have no source of income to pay rent, and therefore, have the high potential to have their housing security threatened. Dozens of individuals a year face eviction due to non-payment of rent in CAAP housing.

 

“This pilot project, rooted in our “housing first” policy approach to reducing homelessness, will provide the right incentives for better financial management from CAAP participants and an ability to adjust the program as changes arise and are needed,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “

 

The intent of Supervisor Farrell’s legislation is to reduce the risk that CAAP participants will be evicted or become housing insecure. Under Supervisor Farrell’s legislation, CAAP participants who reside in HSA-funded supportive housing and have engaged in three acts of negligent failure to comply with program requirements will be ineligible to receive cash assistance for a month, but HSA will make a rental payment during that month on their behalf directly to the housing provider. During the pilot project, HSA will collect and analyze data concerning the number of individuals who receive rental assistance under the pilot project and will submit an annual report to the Board of Supervisors describing the program’s effectiveness and recommendations for improvement.

Individuals who receive rental assistance under the pilot project must:

  • Reinstate to CAAP during the first month of the sanction period in order to reestablish an income source that will allow the individual to resume rental payments the following month; and
  • Re-establish participation in a third-party rent payment service upon reinstatement to CAAP.

Individuals will not be able to qualify for rental assistance under the pilot project if the discontinuance of their benefit is due to fraud, willful noncompliance with program requirements, or loss of program eligibility due to other reasons, including increased income or assets or eligibility for another cash assistance program.

Supervisor Farrell’s legislation is expected to be heard in a Board of Supervisors Committee in early February.

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