Ex-offenders struggle to find housing


Competition for housing in San Francisco goes far beyond eager twenty-somethings searching for the perfect pad in the Marina.

According to a report released by the Board of Supervisors, more than 47 percent of ex-offenders are left without permanent housing in The City.

Many of these former inmates have been released as a result of Gov. Jerry Brown’s infamous realignment efforts, which are meant to reduce prison overcrowding but is creating a demand that San Francisco low-income housing cannot meet.

Ex-offenders on probation or parole are legally required to live in San Francisco, so they have nowhere to go except the street. This creates a vicious cycle, says a senior manager at the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, Severin Campbell. He told the Chronicle:

“You may be an ex-offender, but to San Francisco you’re just one of the homeless. But homelessness makes it easier to re-offend.”

As of last October, there were 5,818 ex-offenders under the supervision of the city’s Adult Probation Department, according to the Chronicle. Of the 5,818 ex-offenders, 417 were released under the state’s new realignment program, AB 109.

The city sets aside a mere 250 rooms for ex-inmates (many of them with a limited stay time of a month or less), so you do the math.

Not to mention, AB 109 is all about “realigning” less-serious felony offenders from the state to local level, so many of these people have a criminal record.

Unsurprisingly, that makes securing housing all the more difficult for former prisoners and all the more controversial for the thousands of low-income San Franciscans without a record who are competing for the same housing.

The Chronicle reported that the city has already established that discrimination on the basis of criminal background is a major housing issue and aims to prevent such discrimination. But without additional housing, the problem persists.

The Board of Supervisors’ report suggested one solution – moving ex-offenders to other counties when possible – but offered no input from other California counties or suggestion for how they might receive that idea.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi told the Chronicle:

“Housing is a critical issue for ex-offenders, and it’s a very vexing problem for San Francisco.”

Bay Area gas prices continue to skyrocket

Previous article

No more Drakes Bay means pricier oysters

Next article

You may also like

More in News