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Policy Initiatives

The City of San Francisco does many things well, but sometimes there are gaps. We formed RescueSF to help the City fill those gaps.  Below are six policy initiatives we are advocating the City adopt for a more comprehensive and effective approach to addressing homelessness.

End Street Sleeping

We can end street sleeping, now, by dramatically increasing our shelter capacity.  With more shelter, people can come off the streets, receive services, and find permanent housing.  In partnership with MyOwnLockandKey, we are promoting the use of non-congregate shelter that provides safety and stability and helps residents prepare for their next steps.  As a result of our advocacy, the City opened a site of 50 emergency shelter cabins at 33 Gough Street and will add 70 more cabins in the Mission. 

Connect People to Care

The City provides formerly homeless people with a broad range of services, including health care, mental health care, substance use treatment, housing navigation, and career services.  We are assembling a group of stakeholders – such as service providers and people who were formerly homeless – to suggest how the City’s connections to care can be more timely, coordinated, and effective.

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 policies of treatment for drug users and enforcement for drug traffickers.  Recognizing the complexity of this problem, we are calling for coordinated action among federal, state, and local authorities.

Keep People Housed

To keep people housed, we need more housing that is affordable to people with lower incomes.  The best way to provide less expensive housing is to reduce construction costs.  We are assembling a group of stakeholders – including architects, builders, lawyers, advocates, and residents – to identify the most impactful methods for the City to reduce construction costs and produce more affordable housing for all.

Improve Data

San Francisco, like cities across the country, needs to do a better job of collecting, analyzing, and learning from data.  Data-driven performance management processes can produce more effective programs that deliver better results.  Through our analysis of the Tenderloin Emergency Initiative, we have shown how better data analysis could improve the City’s approach to the Tenderloin.  We continue to advocate for the City to adopt performance management processes.  See our dashboard.

Promote Regional Cooperation

San Francisco is not an island and cannot solve homelessness on its own.  The City should actively collaborate with governments throughout the Bay Area to implement comprehensive regional solutions.  RescueSF is working with other non-governmental groups to promote greater regional collaboration on solutions to homelessness.

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.

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