Newsom lauds efforts to end homelessness
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - With the city's homeless population
shrinking, according to numbers recently released from the mayor's
office, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is vowing to do more.
As the number of individual homeless who have found housing complete
with social services has increased, the mayor now plans to concentrate
on getting families and seniors off the street.
He cited an emphasis on providing permanent supportive housing
as the major reason for San Francisco going from "once being
identified as having the most pervasive homeless problem in the
country to being a role model."
"Soup kitchens solve hunger, shelters solve sleep, permanent
supportive housing solves homelessness, and it is a solution that
is working," Newsom said. "Permanent supportive housing
is the cornerstone of our strategy to end homelessness in San
According to the mayor's numbers, 1,798 units of housing have
been added in the city since 2004, making the total number of
units 3,182. Within the next few years, over 1,000 more units
are slated for construction.
The mayor also announced Thursday that 87 percent of those who
were receiving cash welfare payments in 2004 are no longer claiming
This year, Newsom said he has allocated $3 million to assist
families on the verge of eviction and that he will develop 138
new units of housing especially for chronically homeless families.
On top of placing those who are down on their luck in housing,
the city has also succeeded in reuniting 1,788 individuals with
friends and family across the country at an average cost of $147
The programs are all part of the mayor's 10 year plan that began
in 2004 with the appointment of former supervisor Angela Alioto
to spearhead a campaign to get the city's chronic homeless off
the streets and off welfare payments.
According to Newsom, his "care not cash" system is
way ahead of schedule.
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