San Francisco Marks Rehousing Progress as Part of Federal House America Program

City more than doubles its goals set as part of nationwide campaign led by the Biden-Harris Administration to rehouse people who are homeless
January 26, 2023

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed today announced San Francisco’s progress in more than doubling the House America program goal between September 2021 through December 2022, a national effort that includes over 100 communities across 31 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The City has been aggressively investing in housing and shelter since the launch of Mayor Breed’s Homelessness Recovery Plan in 2020.  

Recognizing the need to respond with urgency to the nation’s homelessness crisis, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, who serves as chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), called on national partners in 2021 to re-house 100,000 households experiencing homelessness through a Housing First approach, and to add 20,000 new units of affordable housing into the development pipeline between September 2021 and December, 2022. House America challenged communities to utilize the historic investments provided through the American Rescue Plan along with other federal, state, and local funds. Today, HUD announced that House America had achieved its goals.  

In 2021, San Francisco joined the House America Campaign. As part of this challenge from September 2021 to December 2022, the City rehoused 3,000 households and purchased or leased over 1,500 new housing units. This more than doubles the goal San Francisco set at the beginning of House America and was a significant contributor to the national House America goals that were announced today.  

“Housing is the key to ending homelessness, and we have been working to add thousands of new housing opportunities across our City,” said Mayor London Breed. “In San Francisco, we have been able to rehouse thousands of adults, children, and families experiencing homelessness. There is certainly more work to do, but these investments are critical to changing the trajectory of homelessness in San Francisco. No one City can do this alone. The Biden-Harris Administration’s House America, led by Secretary Fudge, has brought national leadership to this issue, which is necessary if we are going to make a difference around homelessness in this country.”  

 "Solving homelessness through housing and supportive services not only helps the most vulnerable among us, but also makes a whole community stronger, more inclusive, and more equitable,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “I thank Mayor Breed for being one of the first in the country to join House America and partner with HUD in taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to address this crisis, and for setting and surpassing ambitious goals to bring San Franciscans out of hopelessness and into homes.”     

“Housing should be a right not a privilege,” said USICH Executive Director Jeff Olivet. “Through the Biden-Harris Administration’s House America Initiative, San Francisco and other cities have rehoused tens-of-thousands of people and put thousands of units into the development pipeline. By not only reaching, but doubling its House America goal, San Francisco is showing the rest of the nation what is possible. With the release of All In, the administration’s new federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, we are expanding upon these successes to achieve a 25% national reduction in homelessness by 2025”  

Like cities across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many factors that contributed to the San Francisco’s homelessness crisis such as job loss, eviction, substance use and mental health challenges. Yet, the City saw a 3.5% decrease in overall homelessness and a 15% decrease in unsheltered homelessness from 2019 to date, according to the 2022 Point in Time Count. This is due in part to proactive investment and allocation of resources dedicated to addressing homelessness during the City’s emergency response.  

“The City is now engaged in a strategic planning process that will incorporate these successes and sets a path to continued progress over the next five years. We plan to build on what worked,” said Shireen McSpadden, Director of the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “In addition to the decrease in overall homelessness, over the last year we acquired six hotels for permanent supportive housing in order to rapidly and significantly add new PSH to our portfolio.”  

Building on lessons learned during the pandemic, the City established bold goals through the Mayor’s Homelessness Recovery plan, which not only prioritized housing thousands of people, but made it possible for San Francisco to contribute to national housing campaigns sponsored by federal agencies.  

Mayor Breed launched the Homelessness Recovery Plan in July 2020, which committed to moving thousands of people into housing or shelter and set several target goals to reach by the end of June 2022. Over the last two years, the City has invested in the greatest expansion of permanent, supportive housing in 20 years, reactivated the shelter system, and created new shelter based on non-congregate models. Due to this work, over 5,300 shelter and housing placements were made during that time.   

Building on this work, a City-wide Five-Year strategic plan will be released early 2023. Deeply informed by leadership and guidance from people with lived experience, it will:  

  • Advance racial and housing justice objectives,  
  • Improve system performance, capacity, and accountability,   
  • Be housing focused, supporting successful and stable entries into housing, and
  • Prevent people from experiencing homelessness in the first place.