Farrell gives homeless housing a fresh look

Supervisor Mark Farrell introduced a plan during Tuesday Board of Supervisors meeting to host hearings to assess The City’s role in housing the homeless.

Farrell said the hearings will also examine services for homeless youth, veterans, seniors and members of the LGBTQ community, and explore how to best handle public housing evictions.

“While we know there is no silver bullet to ending homelessness, focusing on solutions and services that deliver better outcomes and results for the sub-populations of our City’s homeless can make a noticeable and significant reduction in our overall homeless population.”

As part of The City’s 10-year plan on homelessness Farrell plans to bring together homeless advocates, housing providers, community leaders and city staff to analyze The City’s short- and long-term housing solutions.

Farrell is pushing the idea of the “housing ladder,” which says The City should provide below market-rate housing through the Housing Authority. He said studies have shown supportive housing to lower the public’s overall financial burden.

Supervisors Scott Weiner and David Campos co-sponsored the legislation authorizing the hearings, which will focus on homeless sub-populations such as youth, seniors, veterans and members of the LGBTQ community.

Farrell said one hearing will also focus on evictions of the homeless and formerly homeless from publicly-funded housing units:

“We know how difficult it is for homeless and formerly homeless to find housing options after they have been evicted from a housing unit. It’s critical for The City to have policies in place beforehand to discourage these evictions if possible.”

There were 7,350 homeless in San Francisco in 2013 including those in shelters, jail and transitional housing, while 914 were children under the age of 18, according to last year’s homeless count.

The count included sexual orientation for the first time and found 29 percent of homeless in The City reported as LGBTQ.

Farrell plans to host the first of these hearing during April and May:

“If we can continue to move the needle forward on our key sub populations we can reduce the number of individuals living on our city streets. I don’t believe we can sit idle while individuals continue to sleep on our streets.”