[Hpn] Shelter survey report: SHUT OUT... part 1
Coalition on Homelessness, SF
Sun, 24 Sep 2000 16:33:07 -0700
how did I know it was going to bounce?
ok, Tom. here 'tis. it ought to keep you busy reading for a while (if
the post is small enough that it won't "bounce" from the list!)the
raw numbers are all tight and right (I think), but the percentages
I'm not so sure about. and I'm too burned out to play with my
I knew there was a reason I've been jamming on this thing all
weekend. enjoy! discuss! stir some shit!
comments? questions? ask away!
chance (aka anal retentive policy wonk)
SHUT OUT... with plenty to say.
The Voices of Homeless People in San Francisco's Shelters
A Report by the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
"As rich as this country is, there should not be homelessness here."
40 year old African American male
San Francisco currently provides shelter for about 15% of the
11,000-14,000 men, women and children who have nowhere else to go on
any given night in America's tightest housing market. The heated
competition for housing in the face of skyrocketing rents in San
Francisco drives the price of housing beyond the reach of low-income
renters, so shelters are increasingly becoming destinations, rather
than the emergency accommodations they were created to be. While
homeless shelters are the least desirable method of coping with lack
of housing, current federal spending practices have de-prioritized
the provision of an adequate supply of permanent, low-income
affordable housing. The result has, unfortunately, served to ensure
these institutions will likely be with us for many years to come.
The Coalition on Homelessness led a community effort to survey 407
homeless people during the months of August and September, 2000. The
purpose of this survey was to capture the input of homeless people to
guide efforts in redesigning the way San Francisco provides homeless
What we found was that homeless people had a lot to say about San
Francisco's shelters, and they welcomed the opportunity to tell us
their views. Survey respondents were very articulate as they
expressed their views and experiences on what worked and didn't work
in San Francisco's shelters. Their responses on how to improve our
homeless shelters were also very clear and creative.
A recent ballot initiative, Proposition E - which would have stripped
single adult public assistance recipients of cash benefits - was
defeated by voters on the March 2000 ballot. While it was being
considered, City departments were meeting behind closed doors to
develop a response by redesigning the shelter system.
The Coalition on Homelessness responded by demanding an open dialogue
and input from homeless people on what changes should be made to the
shelter system. The "Strengthening Single Adult Shelter System"
committee was formed though the Local Homeless Coordinating Board as
part of HUD's Continuum of Care process.
In addition, the Coalition on Homelessness put together this survey
to gather the thoughts and ideas of homeless people themselves on how
they felt the shelter system should be designed.
We asked a lot of open-ended questions about various aspects of the
shelter to ensure creative unlimited responses. What we received was
exactly that. Homeless people were frank and open, and had countless
innovative ideas. If acted upon, these recommendations will truly
transform San Francisco's shelter system from places where people
stay homeless to places that are responsive launching pads up and out
This report is meant to impact any shelter re-design efforts and also to:
o Direct the spending of the $240,000 currently available to
re-design the shelter system,
o Inform the re-bidding process for both MSC-North and MSC-South shelters, and
o Be introduced into language regarding shelters in the City's 5-year
homeless plan, entitled "Continuum of Care".
The Coalition will use responses from this survey to form our agenda
for reforming the single adult shelter system. We will continue to
work tirelessly to make homeless peoples' voices heard, and then
This survey is not meant to be a scientific sampling. Instead, the
following survey responses offer us a reflection of what the 407
homeless people who were surveyed want and need from San Francisco's
We attempted to ensure that homeless people were adequately
represented by choosing sites that, together, would represent the
diversity of homeless people in San Francisco. Over 50 sites were
chosen city-wide, and special attention was paid to those services
targeting specific populations. However, most sites were locations
where homeless people congregate, including many service sites. As a
result, there are many populations under-represented that tend to be
part of the hidden homeless population.
For example, of the 407 people we surveyed, only 67 were female, and
only two identified as transgender. This is primarily a result of two
things: only single adults were targeted, leaving out those with
children. Women and transgenders tend to be under served in homeless
services, and as a result these populations tend to be hidden (i.e.
"Sofa-bed surfing") and inaccessible to survey takers. Seniors were
also under-represented, as well as young adults, Asians, Native
Americans for these same reasons. We did not ask for neighborhood of
origin, since many neighborhoods in the city do not have services or
have few services for homeless people. We had to rely on street
surveys in several neighborhoods. We can only assume that these
populations would be under-represented as well. Lastly, we surveyed
only in Spanish and English, so those speaking other languages would
not be represented here.
Who was Surveyed
Surveys were conducted during the months of August and September
2000. Surveys were conducted at 51 different sites, including
shelters, self-help centers, food lines, drop-in centers, public
health facilities, low-income SRO hotels, welfare offices, and the
streets and parks of San Francisco.
United Nation Plaza
Cesar Chavez St.
Day Labor Program
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Lutheran Church
Mission Shower Project
Delores Street Shelter
Third Baptist Church
Chinatown Tenants Assoc.
Tom Waddell Clinic
South Beach Drop-in
Metropolitan Community Church
Hospitality House Shelter
Vehicularly Housed Residents' Assoc.
16th & Mission St.
24th and Mission St.
Haight Ashbury Food Program
SF General Hospital
SF Main Library
Washington Square Park
A Woman's Place
A Man's Place
Swords to Plowshares
Young Community Developers
Bayview Hunter Point Streets Bayview MSC
Hamilton Family Shelter
Bayview Health Clinic
6th & Market St.
Coalition on Homelessness, SF
Turk and Larkin St.
Matt's Place/Queer Youth Shelter
Survey respondents who stayed in shelters:
Yes 354 87%
No 53 13%
Average number of months since respondents last stayed in shelters:
1 month or less 317 78%
Less than 3 months 7 2%
3 to 6 months 18 4%
6 to 12 months 28 7%
13 to 24 months 17 4%
More than 24 months 20 5%
Ethnicity of survey respondents:
Caucasian 132 32%
African-American/Black 119 30%
Latino/a/Chicano/a 100 25%
Native American 13 3%
Pacific Islander 8 2%
Asian 4 1%
Other 26 6%
Decline to answer 5 1%
Age of survey respondents:
18-24 29 7%
25-34 74 18%
35-54 240 59%
55+ 51 13%
Decline to answer 13 3%
Gender of survey respondents:
Male 334 82%
Female 67 16%
Transgender 2 0.05%
Other 2 0.05%
Decline to answer 2 0.03%
Veteran status of survey respondents:
Veterans 97 24%
Respondents who had children living with them:
Yes 9 2%
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Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
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Fax: (415) 775.5639