Big Price Tag for SF’s Safe Sleeping Sites for Homeless

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You might think that small, temporary tent compounds to house the homeless in San Francisco would be less costly than renting an apartment. Think again. A new Bay Area Council analysis finds that the city annually spends $69,000 per resident to operate its safe sleeping sites program, three times the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment and twice the cost of the city’s Navigation Centers. San Francisco currently operates six safe sleeping sites across the city that have helped move 262 unsheltered people off sidewalks and into areas where they have access to bathrooms and showers, three meals a day, and 24/7 security. The sites each hold 40-50 tents and are located on vacant lots, many of which are publicly owned. 

The Council’s estimates are based on an examination of budget documents from four safe sleeping sites and include salaries and benefits (76%), operating expenditures (21%), and indirect costs (3%). Based on the estimates, scaling the program to serve the city’s estimated 5,180 unsheltered homeless residents would cost $360 million annually. To engage in the Council’s homelessness policy work, please contact Policy Associate Anna Sciaruto.

(Photo credit: MarketWatch)

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