At least 200 of the homeless people currently residing in hotels due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be placed in long-term housing, subsidized by philanthropic funds for 18 months.
San Francisco's effort to provide adequate shelter for a segment of the homeless population during the pandemic — currently around 1,900 hotel rooms are occupied by people previously living on the street — has raised many questions about what happens after these hotel rooms return to being hotel rooms. The homelessness problem, by many accounts, is worse than it's been in years, and the city lacks sufficient shelter and transitional housing space for all those who will be returning to the street when the pandemic is over.
But one small effort will use philanthropic and city funds to place a portion of these individuals in apartments for the long-term. As the Mercury News reports via a release from the city, 200 homeless individuals currently in hotel rooms will be given golden tickets to more permanent housing. And, reportedly, some of them have already been moved to these new homes.
This effort is happening with the help of the nonprofit Brilliant Corners, and funded through the city's Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool, or Flex Pool. For the first 18 months of the program, philanthropic dollars will fund the entire pool — covering 70 percent of each person's rent.
"We partner with government, health care, service providers, landlords and developers to create supportive housing solutions that empower people to achieve housing stability," says Brilliant Corners on their website. "Because when each individual has a corner of the world to call their own, our whole community shines."
The organization will help guide each tenant through a leasing process with a landlord, and provide ongoing support to keep them housed. The formerly homeless tenants will be responsible for 30 percent of their rent from their own income.
"We are committed to securing permanent homes for as many of the people who have been sheltered as a result of COVID-19 as we possibly can,” says Abigail Stewart-Kahn, interim director of SF's Department of Homeless and Supportive Housing, in a release. "The Flex Pool is an important step in fulfilling that commitment."
It's unclear what will qualify individuals for this program — city staff will reportedly refer "eligible" individuals — or what options may exist for the other 1,700 or so individuals currently residing in leased hotel rooms.
"Even as we have implemented emergency responses to COVID-19, we have remained focused on long term solutions to homelessness, particularly more housing," said Mayor London Breed, in the release.