Mayor Breed Announces Budget Investments to Address Homelessness

Proposed expansions of housing, shelter and prevention efforts will help City begin work on meeting goals of new 5-year Strategic Plan
May 30, 2023

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed today joined Supervisor Rafael Mandelman in announcing her proposed budget investments to increase housing, shelter, and prevention services to bolster the City’s effort to help people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. The new funding are the first new investments made in line with its new 5-year Strategic Plan to help individuals exit homelessness. The goals of this 5-year plan include cutting unsheltered homelessness in half over the next five years.   

San Francisco has significantly expanded housing and shelter in recent years. In her budget, the Mayor is proposing new shelter beds, more housing placements, and additional funding to prevent people from falling into homelessness. With this new proposed funding, the City will have made the following progress since 2018 when Mayor Breed took office:  

  • Increased housing slots for the formerly homeless to over 15,050 (69% increase
  • Increased shelter to just over 3,950 beds (58% increase)   
  • Helped almost 10,000 people exit homelessness into housing 

These investments contributed to San Francisco’s recent reductions in homelessness. Between 2019 and 2022, San Francisco saw a 15% decrease in unsheltered homelessness and a 3.5% decrease in overall homelessness.   

“San Francisco continues to make significant progress in creating solutions to help people off the street and into safer spaces,” said Mayor Breed. "In order to reach our ambitious goals to prevent and end homelessness for those struggling in our City and to improve the conditions in our neighborhoods, we need to continue to deliver resources and focus on accountability to be efficient and effective. I look forward to working with City leaders, the public, nonprofits, the private sector, and all levels of government to bring our plan to fruition.”   

The expansions announced today build on the City’s success to further increase access to shelter, housing, and resources to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. Specifically, the new funding will allow the City to add to its current system:  

  • A net gain of nearly 600 new shelter beds   
  • Create 545 new permanent housing placements    
  • Create 825 prevention and problem-solving placements  

The budget will also make the system more efficient by hiring staff and deploying resources to quickly launch housing and prevention placements currently in the pipeline. This will ensure resources aren’t just planned for but can be activated quickly to serve the City.  

"I applaud the mayor's bold initiative to increase funding to effectively tackle homelessness in our city. With stronger investments in shelters and transitional and permanent housing, we can prioritize getting more people off the streets and into safe, secure living situations,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey. “This is a critical step forward in our shared mission to create a more equitable and inclusive city for everyone."  

These investments are part of the initial implementation of Home by the Bay, the City’s 5-year strategic plan to cut unsheltered homelessness by 50%, help move at least 30,000 into permanent housing, and provide prevention services to at least 18,000 people at risk of losing their housing and becoming homeless, among other goals.  

The Mayor’s proposed budget will advance investments in homelessness while closing a City-wide $780 million two-year deficit. The proposals to increase prevention, shelter, and housing capacity in our system will be included in the Mayor’s proposed two-year Budget, which will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for review by June 1. Final numbers for all Departments will be available when the Budget is introduced.

Key Budget Investments   

Expanding Shelter Beds   

The mayor’s budget proposal will add 600 new shelter beds for adults, families, and youth experiencing homelessness. These investments will include expanding capacity at existing shelter sites, adding a new non-congregate shelter, and adding new cabins.    

This budget also keeps open another 554 shelter beds that were funded by the State during the pandemic and are set to close. During the pandemic, the State provided one-time funds for temporary shelter as part of the pandemic response.   

In 2018, the City shelter system had a capacity of 2,500 shelter beds. With the new investments announced today to both protect beds from closing and add new beds to the system, there will be over 3,950 shelter beds in the City.  

Expanding New Housing   

This budget will add 545 housing placements to the City’s portfolio, resulting in just over 15,050 units in the entire system. These 545 placements will be broken down in the following categories: 350 rapid rehousing, 120 shallow subsidies, and 75 permanent supportive housing.  

Since 2018, the City has expanded housing options to include a broad range of subsides, vouchers, and units to meet the diverse needs of people experiencing homelessness, helping almost 10,000 people exit homelessness to housing. Within the last three years alone, the City has opened 10 permanent supportive housing projects, including six properties with Project Homekey funding used to purchase both hotels and apartment buildings to provide housing for formerly homeless youth, adults, and families. San Francisco currently has three times the amount of permanent supportive housing as any other county in the Bay Area.   

Adding More Prevention Services  

One of the most effective strategies to address homelessness is to keep people housed or to rapidly rehouse them if they do fall into homelessness. This last year alone, in 2023, San Francisco served 9,300 at the “front door” of homelessness to prevent them from falling into homelessness with short-term financial support.   

By adding 825 new prevention slots for households and launching 535 additional prevention slots currently in the pipeline, the City will have 1,360 new slots available help prevent the inflow of people entering homelessness.    

Capacity and Accountability 

The budget also funds key positions at the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) to ensure the Department has the capacity to execute the ambitious plan and to implement accountability measures to ensure that this funding is being used effectively.    

Move Homelessness Resources Faster

While facing a budget deficit and a significant need for more shelter, the City has resources in the Homelessness Gross Receipt Tax that are unspent because of the prescribed spending plan outlined in the Our City, Our Home ordinance.   

To ensure that all possible resources are going to address this crisis, Mayor Breed is introducing an ordinance along with her budget that would authorize two years of flexibility to the Homeless Gross Receipt Tax (Our City, Our Home) allowable spending categories to ensure that unspent and unencumbered funds are used to fund the budget priorities around homelessness.

“Mayor Breed’s proposed budget investments are critical in supporting the City’s new five-year Home by the Bay equity-driven strategic plan,” said San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Director, Shireen McSpadden. “These investments are essential to fund the expansion of shelter beds, new permanent supportive housing and homelessness prevention services.”