San Francisco nonprofit commits $100 million to programs targeting chronic homelessness

File - In this Feb. 26, 2016, file photo, Angela Flax packs up her tent at an encampment along Division Street in San Francisco. Media outlets in San Francisco plan to saturate internet, broadcast and print publications this week with news stories about an issue that has stumped politicians and residents for decades: The city's homeless. Editors will concentrate media coverage on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, although news groups also plan stories throughout the week in an effort to inform residents and spur action. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

 

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Tipping Point Community has committed to raising $100 million toward an ambitious goal of cutting the number of chronically homeless people on the streets of San Francisco in half within five years, officials said Monday.

The nonprofit, which has already raised $60 million toward the initiative, is partnering with the city and other nonprofits to create new housing units, fund programs that attack the root causes of homelessness and
boost the capacity of the public sector by funding key positions.

“It’s time for an all hands on deck approach – the public and private sectors must work together in a new way,” Daniel Lurie, Tipping Point’s CEO and founder, said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that in a
region with such creativity, wealth, and generosity that thousands of people are living on the streets.”

The initiative, the single largest private donation ever made toward homelessness programs in San Francisco, is intended to focus attention and resources on the chronically homeless, those who have been living on the street for more than a year and who suffer from physical and mental disabilities.

As many as 2,000 people in San Francisco are estimated to currently meet that description.

While relatively few in number, the chronically homeless tend to consume a disproportionately large amount of city resources because of repeated police and fire calls and emergency room visits, making them a key population to address for both financial and humanitarian reasons.

While the initiative was just announced, Tipping Point has already contributed to several projects.

The initiative has helped launch the “Move On,” program, a partnership with the nonprofit Brilliant Corners that helps people in supportive housing who are ready for more self-sufficient living situations locate housing and provides some ongoing support. The program is expected to help free up spaces in supportive housing projects and shelter beds.

The initiative has also contributed $612,000 to add 34 beds to the city Department of Public Health’s Medical Respite and Sobering Center at 1171 Mission St.

The facility provides medical care and temporary shelter and coordinates services for homeless adults with complex psychiatric and substance abuse issues who might otherwise be released back on to the street
from local hospitals.

Tipping Point has also funded two two-year positions at the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to help develop “smart data” systems for tracking and managing services.

City officials welcomed the support, with Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness and Supporting Housing, calling it a “game-changer.”

“We will be able to leverage their investments with proven and new solutions to the homelessness crisis that we face as a city,” Kositsky said.

Mayor Ed Lee cited the funding as an example of ongoing efforts to partner with philanthropic organizations to tackle tough social issues.

“Tipping Point has responded to that call for action by bringing their considerable private sector resources to help the city expand our successful homelessness programs,” Lee said in a statement. “Together, we will achieve our goal of moving people off the streets and connecting them with resources they need.”

Lee’s administration has also worked with Hamilton Families and philanthropic groups on the Heading Home Campaign targeting chronic family homelessness. That campaign, includes $30 million in privately donated funds and $4.5 million in city contributions, has helped find housing for 124 families so far.

Philanthropic groups have also donated $6 million toward the city’s Navigation Centers, widely lauded shelters that provide a more flexible and welcoming environment for the homeless and include connections to city services and housing.

The city has opened two such centers so far and has several others in the works.

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