Public and private sector program moves financial aid fast to
Joshua Davis and nine-month-old son Barnabus Davis move from family
shelter to permanent housing under a new program launched by the
City geared toward fast financial help for homeless and at-risk
families. Program architects, center, Salvador Menjivar, Director
of Hamiltion Family Center; and from left, Hamiltion Family Center
Board Members Beth Stokes and Pamela and Pamela Fishman Cianci.
By Pat Murphy
July 11, 2006
The City stepped up efforts Monday to move homeless families
into permanent housing as quickly as possible, reported Mayor
Emphasis on new rent subsidies and eviction prevention guide
the public and private sector strategy, detailed Director of Human
Resources Trent Rohrer.
The strategy acknowledges families tend to become homeless more
due to financial reasons rather than from substance abuse, alcoholism,
or mental illiness, Rohrer continued.
And the program moves new and faster financial help to distressed
families funded from the City general fund and private foundations.
Known as 'First Avenues - Housing Solutions for Families,' the
program is coordinated through the Hamilton
Family Center, described as "the largest provider of
shelter and support services for homeless and recently housed
families" in San Francisco.
"Our plan to launch a broad homeless family system redesign
is being realized today with First Avenues -- Housing Solutions
for Families," said Newsom.
Mayor Newsom describes 'Housing First' as a first for the nation.
"In utilizing the "Housing First" approach which
is now a housing model for the rest of the country, what we have
done for single adults we can achieve the same level of success
for families," the mayor stated.
The approach will lead to permanent rather than temporary solutions
for homeless families, echoed Beth Stokes, a member of the Hamilton
Family Center Board of Cirectors.
"We designed this program in hopes of providing permanent
solutions," projected Stokes. Associate Director at Hamilton
"In the last two years, we have implemented a small scale
Housing First pilot project. Currently, we have six families receiving
temporary rental subsidies."
"With the launch of the full program, we plan to roll out
an addition 70 temporary rental subsides over the next 12 months,"
New rent subsidies average $500 monthly for one year, and continue
for a second year if the family increases its income through employment
during first year of subsidy.
In addition, first year participants receive household goods
grants, emergency food distribution, and employment skills training.
Families at-risk for eviction receive mediation with landlords,
loans to prevent eviction, and family payee services.
If an eviction occurs, the project pays moving and security deposit
costs for relocation.
Newsom has budgeted $3 million for Housing First for the coming
Additional private and public supporters include the Schwab Foundation,
the Louis R. Lurie Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, Salesforce.com
Foundation, CitiApartments and the University of San Francisco.