GavinNewsom 005.jpgNearly six years into the city’s 10-year plan to end homelessness, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said today that the program has created 1,679 units of permanent housing for its chronically homeless residents.

The plan calls for 3,000 new units of permanent housing, as well as support services, to get homeless adults out of shelters and into more stable environments. It was launched in June 2004.

Newsom discussed the progress while meeting with volunteers before doors opened at today’s Project Homeless Connect services fair at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. He also said that nearly 19,400 people have volunteered at the massive event since it began in 2004.

Newsom acknowledged that homelessness in San Francisco has certainly not gone away, but said that the chronically homeless population has decreased for the first time in 30 years.

However, securing housing for someone is only a first step, he said. Broader poverty issues are typically at the root of the problem.

“Thousands in the Tenderloin are housed and still on the street panhandling,” he said. “It’s people with issues that need to be addressed consistently.”

The mayor pointed to today’s Project Homeless Connect fair as an example of the support people need to stay off the street. Many of the people lined up outside the auditorium, where health, legal and other services were offered, aren’t homeless but rely on those services, Newsom said.

In the moments before today’s Project Homeless Connect opened its doors, director Judith Klain said 800 people were waiting outside.

“These are not easy times,” she said.

Today’s Project Homeless Connect is the 33rd since the program started. Volunteers have added mammograms and follow-up care appointments to the lengthy roster of services available at the fair.

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  • Xenu

    Bullshit, I’ve seen waaaay more new homeless people appear in 2009 than in any previous year I’ve lived here.

  • generic

    Well yeah. San Francisco is not immune to the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression.

    What I need are journalists who can pull out those numbers so I can understand what I’m reading. Controlling for The Great Recession, how well have Project Homeless Connect and Care Not Cash worked? I know it’s tough to estimate, but I want to see an attempt.

  • Eve Batey

    Sure! Tell me what you’re looking for. How are you quantifying “working well”? I’m not asking you to do our job for us, but if I had a better idea what questions you as a reader want answered, I have a better starting place than just reporting what I think you “need to” know. You dig?

  • generic

    Yeah. Hm. Okay.

    “Working well” is a little broad. I’d settle on “working”.

    I’d want to know the baseline number for homelessness in San Francisco. You know? I have no idea. I’m sure the Mayor’s office does. And I’m sure the Homeless Lobby has conflicting numbers. They probably both pull hanky-panky with their own numbers, but there’s gotta be a number. But I’m just a blog commentor-type person, so I have no idea.

    Say it’s 6000-ish people. During an economic slowdown you’d expect it to rise to 6000 + n … regardless of any social welfare programs. During an economic boom it would shrink to 6000 – n. The city has got to have some sort of math-model- thingy that would predict this stuff, based on the way it happened before. And if the city doesn’t have one of those, someone should be fired.

    If there are more homeless people on the street during sucky, poor, recession-y 2009, that’s to be expected, yeah? But if there are substantially less hobos than anticipated, it’s a victory. What kind of increases are other big cities seeing?

    If what Gavin’s saying is right… if there are less bottom-line homeless in the face of a major, major, economic catastrophe, and if it’s the first time it’s happened in 3 (expansionary) decades, then that’s a MAJOR victory. Isn’t it?

    It means this is a winning policy, and we just need to wait out the storm. Because this storm isn’t like other storms. No one’s been out of work like this since the 30’s.