SF secures federal funding to help house 99 homeless persons

San Francisco’s effort to address homelessness just got a boost from the federal government with $1.8 million in rent subsidies that’s expected to help house 99 homeless persons with disabilities

The San Francisco Housing Authority was among 285 public housing agencies to receive federal funding this month to help subsidize rents for homeless people moving into housing, and has partnered with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Services on the effort.

“This funding is an incredible opportunity to bring 99 San Franciscans with disabilities off of our streets and into housing,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “We are in the midst of a housing crisis that is having a dramatic effect on our low-income population and increasing homelessness in our City. Funding like this is critical to providing paths out of homelessness for our vulnerable populations.”

The $1.8 million in funding is part of $98.5 million the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided to 285 local public housing authorities across the country, which is expected to house a total of 12,000 persons. The funding is through HUD’s Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program and intended to help those who are under the age of 62 with disabilities who are transitioning out of institutions, at serious risk of institutionalization, homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“We look forward to working closely with the Housing Authority to quickly deploy these vouchers and get them into the hands of the people who need them most,” Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said in a statement.

The department plans to use its new coordinated entry system, a database of homeless residents that prioritizes them by need, to identify the qualified applicants for the vouchers.

The vouchers are for use on the private market and will ensure a person is not paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent. The department will hire a nonprofit to locate housing and work with the landlords to have them participate.

The City secured the most funding of any housing authority, but had initially applied for resources for 263 persons, according to Ed Cabrera, a HUD spokesperson based in San Francisco.

Of the 99, about 63 are expected to come from the Department of Homelessness’ coordinated entry system, with clients having serious mental illness, substance abuse disorder or HIV/AIDS. Others are expected to come from those leaving care at places like Laguna Honda Hospital and other skilled nursing facilities, according to Cabrera.

Rose Dennis, San Francisco Housing Authority spokesperson, said the coordination among the agencies is “going to streamline their opportunity to benefit from the voucher.”

“We’re trying to get as many people as we can into good stable housing as quickly as possible,” Dennis said. “This is one way to provide that opportunity.”

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