Now Reading
San Francisco Avoided Spike in Homelessness During Covid, According to New Data
Thursday, June 30, 2022

San Francisco Avoided Spike in Homelessness During Covid, According to New Data

San Francisco reported 7,754 people sleeping on the streets or in homeless shelters this year, reflecting a decrease since its last “point in time” count in 2019, according to preliminary results of the city’s 2022 count.

City officials are hailing a 3.5% decrease in homeless residents as a sign of success in hefty investments made to keep people off the streets during the pandemic. With the help of federal funding tied to the Covid emergency, the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing appropriated more than $1.5 billion over the last two fiscal years toward housing, temporary shelter, outreach, coordinated entry and prevention.  

The number of unsheltered people in the city decreased by 15% to 4,397 between 2019 and 2022, according to results from the one-night count. The number of people who have been homeless for more than a year also decreased by 11% to 2,691, and counts of homeless youth and families also declined.

The city attributed the improvements to efforts to provide more temporary shelter along with investments in supportive housing. The city has added 4,026 shelter beds and placed 1,133 people into permanent supportive housing since July 2020, according to the city’s dashboard

“Our investments in shelter and housing are resulting in improvements in the lives of people experiencing homelessness and conditions on our streets,” said Shireen McSpadden, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Executive Director, in a press release.

Members of various nonprofit groups contracted by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing conducted the visual count on Feb. 23, tallying the number of people who appear to be sleeping on the street, in a tent or in a car on that particular night. 

The point in time count is considered by city officials to be the most accurate estimate of homeless residents on a single night, but the data is limited due to the difficulties of identifying someone as homeless visually and because of the likelihood that there may be one person in a tent. 

See Also

The count was scheduled to take place in 2021, but was repeatedly delayed in counties across the country due to the risk of spreading Covid through the survey.  

The San Francisco Department of Public Health found in a previous assessment that more than 18,000 people accessed homeless services over the course of the year in 2020.  

“We have a lot of work to do, but this shows that we are moving in the right direction,” said Mayor London Breed in a press release Monday. “The fact that we were able to make this progress during the course of a global pandemic shows that when the City and our non-profit partners work together, we can make a difference.”

David Sjostedt can be reached at [email protected].
  • Clear proof that HOMELESSNESS and DRUG ADDICTION are two different things. People that were impacted by COVID and were not drug addicts found help and moved on. DRUG Addicts found SF and was given access to Fentanyl Den and drug paraphernalia. This combined with the DO CRIME get NOT TIME policies has made SF the Fentanyl death capital of the world.

  • Not to be overly negative, but I wouldn’t call a small decrease a success given the number of homeless we have in SF.

  • There are no “homeless” in SF. Just drug edicts and dealers. Thats why a billion dollars later, they are still here and growing.

  • This is a misdirec. In 2021 I reached out to our services because of a severe disabling event not due to mental health or drugs purely medical. I was told that there is no space and that they would not even do an intake. Not doing an intake makes their numbers look low. I can tell you for a fact that the homeless encampments are growing and the people in them have stopped seeking help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.