Civil Grand Jury Report on Homelessness

Just released from the SF Superior Court

direct PDF link to the report and also CW Nevius wrote and article about it this morning and be sure to see the comments

updated March 22.2015, new link for the Grand Jury Report

The Homeless Have Homes, But They Are Still on the Street - July 16, 2008

update, August 1, 2010 > this report has since become a running joke for being ignored by the Board of Supervisors and two years later, absolutley nothing has changed

There's a few people saying what I've been saying for years. There are legions of drugged out crazies that live in supportive housing such as tenderloin Housing Clinic who do absolutey nothing all day except hang out on the street and do the same thing they did before they were housed. And it took a Grand Jury to figure this out? Go back through the Tenderloin Housing Clinic section and you'll find plenty of the residents doing all sorts of nasty things on the street. See the SF Weekly article from last year because much of that is STILL going on, not just there, but in many THC supportive housing buildings

a choice comment from todays Chron

it's so bad in some places, even the counselors need counseling..No kidding!. I just made a post about this how some of these case managers get that lost, faraway look. It's like some of the clients are so hardcore, they end up making the counselors shoot smack, otherwise they'd throw themselves out the window

some excerpts from the Grand Jury Report

Is the "housing first" strategy working? The answer again is yes, it is working. Projects
currently in the pipeline exceed the goal of the Ten-Year Plan for 3,000 more supportive
housing units. The City started with 2000 units and now has over 4500 such units. Many
of the homeless population have a place to live.
However, if the question concerns the public perception of the program's success, the
answer is less positive. Panhandling, public drinking and drug use on the streets and in
the parks, sleeping in doorways, etc., continues, creating the impression that the City still
has as large homeless problem as it did prior to the innovations of recent years. This
impression is not true. Many of the folks seen on the street are not homeless - they have
homes, but their life is still on the street.

The Ten-Year Plan called for the addition of 3,000 units of supportive housing targeted at
the homeless by 201 0, half through new construction, and half through master leasing of
existing residential hotels. This approach is designed both to improve the welfare of the
homeless and to be cost effective. Although it costs about $40 a night to provide
supportive housing compared to about $22 for a room in a residential hotel without
services, it is the only approach that keeps the chronically homeless permanently housed.
"Retention rates" in supportive housing units, i.e. the percentage of residents who stay
housed or leave for other permanent housing each year, are 97%. The underlying theory
behind the Ten-Year Plan is that by keeping the homeless off the streets and out of
hospital emergency rooms, shelters, and jails, its costs are fully offset by savings
elsewhere. However, the Ten-Year Plan does not elaborate on its claim that supportive
housing for the chronically homeless would save the taxpayer $45,000 per person per
year. 3
Claims like these are plausible but need to be rigorously examined. Once the 3,000
additional unit goal has been achieved, any future increase in supportive housing units
needs to be justified anew by assessing the remaining homeless population and the
marginal cost of getting them into permanent supportive housing.

Supportive housing in San Francisco has been created in two main ways -- a master lease
program whereby existing buildings are leased from private owners and re-let to the
homeless, and a development program whereby specially-built housing is owned and
developed by non-profits using private contractors and city-backed financing.
The master lease approach typically involves the City's funding master leases between
non-profits and residential hotels or SRO's (i.e., buildings for "Single Room
Occupancy," once called "flophouses"), usually with small rooms and shared bathrooms.
These can be quickly renovated and converted to homeless use, but the housing quality is
uneven. These master leases are usually for 10-year terms with a 10-year renewal option.
This approach has been criticized for helping to shrink the pool of private SRO's and
forcing up rents on the lowest rung of the private housing market ladder.

City officials involved in master lease negotiations indicate that the owners of residential
hotels that enter into master leases are able to make more money renting their rooms to
the City at a lower rate based on 100% occupancy than they could renting them out
directly at a 30-40% occupancy rate. Although many of these deals were negotiated at a
time when the City was scrambling to ramp up supportive housing as fast as possible and
saw master leasing as the best short-term approach, the hotel owners did not have the
upper hand. The transactions occurred against a baclcdrop of increasing regulation of
residential hotels in the 1990's that spawned some major litigation and left the hotel
owners little choice, since they were precluded from going out of business or converting
residential hotel rooms to other uses.

this is Randy Shaws specialty with Tenderloin Housing Clinic, literally displacing working people who used to live in my building and replacing it with homeless

The Jury believes that more variation and innovation should also be encouraged in the
tenant mix and types of housing arrangement -- for example, by allowing communal
living, or transitional housing programs tied to acceptance of specific kinds of services.
While the "harm reduction" principle generally requires that services be voluntary, there
is room for differences in approach. Several interviewees commented to the Jury that
expectations were unnecessarily low for the homeless who entered supportive housing
programs. There are currently a few housing programs which have selective intake
criteria and require their residents to stay "clean and sober" andlor to be enrolled in
treatment programs.

no kidding. Most of the people here are high on drugs and alcohol 24/7


1. Homeless spending is large scale, complex and dispersed, but the City has no
mechanism for regularly monitoring it across departments.

2. Updating the six-year old 2001-2002 Budget Analyst's Report of direct and
indirect homeless spending would provide worthwhile data to aid in assessing whether the
trend in ever-increasing spending on homelessness is changing.

3, Current performance measures are not useful in comparing the overall
performance of non-profit providers.

4. Efforts to monitor the cost effectiveness of supportive housing program have not
been comprehensive, and have not included all cohorts of the population at risk of

5. The costs of different homeless housing programs vary greatly for reasons which
are poorly understood. Little analysis of these differences has been done.

6. It is unclear whether current plans to create one type of building over another or
to develop new models are informed by past experience or by any cost lbenefit analysis.
7. The City is just beginning to develop simple outcome measures of success relative
to cost in its supportive housing programs.

8. Greater freedom to experiment with different approaches and levels of service
could facilitate greater cost effectiveness in supportive housing programs.

9. While the City needs to monitor its contracts closely, it could simplify reporting
requirements and provide a computerized method for tracking and comparing outcomes
among non-profits that non-profits themselves could use in collaborations among
themselves as well as for their own internal uses.

10. San Franciscans' continued support of efforts to house the homeless may depend
on their observing an improvement in quality of life attributes such as aberrant street behaviors

this should be a message to Tenderloin Housing Clinic to gain more control over their clientele, provide more incentives to get off drugs and stay off and improve their lives, or risk losing their funding

Get rid of the crack dealers that run rampant in most of Tenderloin Housing Clinic buildings and start from there

Finally, one of many recommendations >

With the success of Housing First, the City should address the quality of life issues
that concern the welfare of all San Francisco residents and should develop programs
that enforce the law, demonstrate compassion, and move the affected population from
harm reduction to meaningful living.

Response required: Mayor, Board of Supervisors

There, the Grand Jury had to say it, and this is something that the biggest Housing First provider, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, does not currently do!!!

Most of the City's spending on supportive housing (at least $90 million) goes to over 80
private, mostly non-profit organizations. They are community based, usually formed
around a particular neighborhood, demographic group, or issue. Some are large and
highly sophisticated, others small and dependent on collaborations with others to run
their programs. Most depend largely or entirely on City contracts for their funding.
Perhaps because of this dependence, politics infuse their relationship with the City. On
the one hand, City officials occasionally said things like: "Non-profits spend too much
time on advocacy and not enough time running their programs," or "Some non-profits
have a strong sense of entitlement," or that they would anticipate "political fallout" from
any attempt to terminate a contractor. On the other hand, one non-profit manager feared
(rightly or wrongly) that a visit he got from a Controller's Office auditor was the result of
his having publicly expressed views on a policy issue that differed from the Mayor's. He
spent months unnecessarily gathering data to defend his program. Objective cost benefit
measures of success could help ease these tensions.

a sense of entitlement? fallout if people complain?..shocking

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