San Francisco, Benioffs to announce $30 million plan to fight family homelessness

San Francisco, Benioffs to announce $30 million plan to fight family homelessness

 

 

San Francisco has a $30 million plan that seeks to end family homelessness.
City officials were expected to announce Friday a public-private partnership and a plan to house hundreds of families by the fall of 2018, with $20 million of the program’s funding already in hand.

 

“Together we will move hundreds of families into permanent housing, ending the trauma of homelessness for so many children in San Francisco,” said Mayor Ed Lee in a statement.

 

The Heading Home Campaign, he said, “is a fantastic example of civic leaders, nonprofits and the city working together to make San Francisco better for all its residents.”

Currently, homeless families in San Francisco have to wait up to seven months for services and spend an average 414 days homeless.

 

Though the number of homeless families has been declining in the last few years to about 1,100 — down 20 percent since 2015 — officials expect at least 800 families will still need somewhere to live next year.

 

The city wants to clear that backlog. According to the plan, the Heading Home Campaign will ensure homeless families have immediate access to services and experience homelessness for a maximum of 90 days. An additional 250 units of housing for these families would be added to the city’s inventory.

 

Families with children in city schools are living in cars, couch surfing, sleeping in shelters and sometimes spending nights outdoors. And each day, 1,800 children in these circumstances head to school.

 

Eradicating the problem is a “clear and achievable goal,” officials said. The city intends to cover $4.5 million of the costs, in addition to $35 million already spent annually on family homelessness.

 

Another $15 million in private funding has been raised, including a $10 million matching grant from Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff.

 

“In our city where so many have done so well, it’s unacceptable that 1,800 students attending San Francisco’s public schools are homeless,” Marc Benioff said. “I hope that other companies and individuals will join us as we take these initial steps in helping all the homeless children in our city find permanent housing.”

 

The school district will also continue to partner with the city to help identify families in need.
“Children who experience homelessness are much more likely to struggle with school, have behavioral challenges and repeat grades,” said Myong Leigh, interim Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. “The Heading Home Campaign is a community-wide effort that will dramatically reduce the amount of time children are homeless, helping thousands of students achieve the stability they need to be successful in their studies.”
Other private donors include tech investor Ron Conway, the Hellman Foundation, Google.org, the San Francisco Giants and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund.

 

Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jtucker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @jilltucker

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