We have created a unique opportunity for residents to influence public policy in San Francisco. We are independent, non-ideological, and non-partisan, and we are guided by data and best practices. Below are six policy initiatives we are advocating the City adopt for a more comprehensive and effective approach to addressing homelessness.
End Street Sleeping
Permanent housing is the solution to homelessness, but the waiting line for housing cannot be on our streets. We have succeeded in bringing interim shelter cabins to San Francisco! In March 2022, the City replaced tents with cabins at the safe sleeping site at 33 Gough. To expand this effort, we have given our public support for Supervisor Mandelman’s "A Place for All" legislation to ensure that San Francisco provides sufficient shelter for unhoused residents.
San Francisco’s unhoused residents have significant behavioral health needs, but the city has a severe shortage of long-term, residential treatment beds. To address this acute need, the Salvation Army is pursuing its "The Way Out" project to build facilities with up to 1,700 beds on land that the Salvation Army already owns in San Francisco. We are helping build public awareness of the project. We are currently organizing an online film screening and panel discussion.
Stop Open-Air Drug Trafficking & Usage
Drug addiction is a prison that keeps many unhoused people on the street. To help people leave the streets, and to improve street conditions for all residents, the City must end open-air drug trafficking and usage. This requires the City to adopt a policy of treatment and enforcement. We are calling on the City to prioritize budgetary and legislative measures, at the local, state, and federal levels.
Keep People Housed
Adopting innovative approaches to building housing, such as flexible financing and modular construction, can significantly reduce the cost and duration of construction. To overcome political roadblocks to these innovations, we will collaborate with other stakeholders -- government representatives, business groups, and affordable housing developers -- to let City policymakers know that these proposed reforms have broad public support and should be adopted.
The City needs to do a better job of collecting data, analyzing performance, and improving policy. RescueSF is organizing community workshops and providing input to the Mayor's Office, the Department of Emergency Management, and the Department of Homelessness on data management and organizational transformation. Improved data management practices will identify the City’s data needs, facilitate program evaluation and learning, and achieve better results. See our dashboard.
Promote Regional Cooperation
San Francisco is not an island, and we need a regional response to address homelessness. To that end, we are planning to organize resident groups throughout the Bay Area to call for intergovernmental cooperation to end homelessness. This project would move us beyond the boundaries of San Francisco. Closer coordination among Bay Area governments would improve policy and promote a more uniform level of services throughout the region.
What You Can Do
Effective change will come only if we make it happen, ourselves. We have to be more personally engaged on the issues that matter to us, and we must hold our political leaders accountable for results. We are looking for effective solutions and will work with people who are moving in the right direction.
To be successful, we need people-powered activism. Please join us by signing up for updates, making a donation, and visiting our current advocacy opportunities page.