In a pioneering program that came out of a partnership between the SF Superior Court, the Adult Probation Department, and the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, ex-convicts will be getting free, temporary supportive housing in the newly refurbished Drake Hotel an SRO where they'll get a room with a twin bed, a TV, a microwave, refrigerator and stove, and where bathrooms are shared among six people. The program, as the Chron reports, is geared toward people who committed low-level crimes or who are on probation for more serious crimes, who are homeless and addicted to drugs or alcohol. The place will be a sober house with a curfew and plenty of rules, "but tenants won’t be evicted for having relapses."
The idea is to give people a boost and help get them into more permanent housing within a year, and get them back on their feet. As Tenderloin Housing Clinic deputy director Krista Gaeta puts it, "You can’t let someone out of jail, give them $5 and say, ‘Good luck.' The better plan is to do things like this so they can go out and get permanent housing, find work and not commit the crimes that got them in trouble in the first place."
The program is being funded through state realignment funding, which after the "realignment" of the prison system authorized by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011, provides funds to counties to deal with low-level offenders who've been released from state prisons. This all happened as a result of gross over-crowding in California's state prisons that led to a Supreme Court decision demanding that 30,000 or more prisoners get let out immediately, to bring prisons back down to capacity.
The couple dozen units in the Drake Hotel will be rented by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic for a total of $600,000 for the next year. Some 18 residents in the SRO refused buyout offers and will remain, but if they move out, their units will become part of the program as well.
Though the program will only benefit between 42 and 50 ex-offenders, it's a step in the direction of dealing with a problem that's been ongoing for several years. As of 2013, the Chron reported that there were 417 ex-offenders released as a result of realignment who were competing for temporary housing in SF, most of it offering stays of a month or less. It appears to have taken two years to get the probation department to get this program underway and allow the Tenderloin Housing Clinic to spend its state funds.