Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 17, 2024
San Francisco Reports Decade-Low Street Homelessness Despite Rise in Overall FiguresSource: JCruzTheTruth, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Francisco hits a new stride in its battle against homelessness, logging the smallest number of street-dwelling folks in a decade. The recent Point-in-Time count, a citywide census of homelessness, uncovered a 13% dip in the population living on the streets or in tents, marking the lowest figure since pre-2015. Despite this downturn, the overall tally, including those in shelters, saw an uptick, a report from the city disclosed yesterday.

While Mayor London Breed's push to expand shelter space has helped reduce visible homelessness, the city grapples with family and vehicular homelessness, which jumped significantly between 2022 and 2024. According to the San Francisco announcement, a staggering 94% surge in family homelessness has occurred since 2022, straining the city's resources. Driven particularly by economic woes post-COVID, these figures shed light on the new challenges that have emerged despite broader successes.

The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing noted that while strides have been made to support individuals out of homelessness, for every person assisted, three more fall into homelessness. This sobering statistic highlights the sheer scale and complexity of the issue facing San Francisco. Nonetheless, the unsheltered population without a stable indoor living situation dipped by 1% compared to 2022 and stayed 16% lower than in 2019, as indicated by the reported data.

With Mayor Breed's Safer Families initiative, solutions are on the city's horizon, targeting the burgeoning family homelessness sector. A notable detail from the count reveals that amongst the families without a roof, 90% are taking refuge in their vehicles, an ironic sanctuary considering they represent a city on the move to reconcile its homeless predicament. "67% of these families are sheltered," reflecting a dual reality where many hang onto a thin thread of stability. In contrast, others encounter the rugged face of street life, as the city's report stated.