Protesters hold a sign listing demands, in English and Spanish, regarding San Francisco's rent assistance program.

Nonprofit Obstructing Rent Aid for Thousands of San Franciscans

A local group that worked with San Francisco on a public program to allocate rental relief funds is keeping a list of thousands of applicants from city staff, an official confirmed Friday. That has made it impossible to follow up with the applicants and give them additional help.

Q Foundation created the web application tool for rent assistance through San Francisco’s Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Shireen McSpadden, Noelle Simmons, and Cynthia Nagendra, new leaders of San Francisco's homelessness agency.

Multiple Challenges Confront New Leaders at SF Homelessness Department

The selection of Shireen McSpadden to lead the city’s homelessness department is being greeted optimistically by officials who have dealt extensively with San Francisco’s chronic inability to find shelter for all its residents.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Joe Wilson, a prominent advocate for homeless people, said they were encouraged by the choice of McSpadden, who is set to take over May 1 — becoming the fourth person to hold the role in 14 months.

The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing was founded in 2016 by former Mayor Ed Lee, who consolidated programs that had been scattered throughout different departments and brought them all under one roof with the promise of ending homelessness for 8,000 San Franciscans in four years.

Two front doors to apartments at Plaza East, the one on the right boarded up.

HUD Denies Request to Demolish Plaza East

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development denied an application to raze and rebuild Plaza East Apartments, a 20-year-old public housing complex in the Western Addition, the agency confirmed.

The determination was made on March 30 but not publicly disclosed until Tuesday, when HUD officials were questioned by the Public Press. The move comes three months after the San Francisco Housing Authority submitted a demolition application, with Mayor London Breed’s endorsement.

Chris Block speaks at a podium in front of a projector screen

SF Creates New Office Tasked With Relocating Homeless Hotel Residents

A new city agency, founded in the wake of rising concerns about the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s ability to house the city’s homeless population, aims to bring 2,000 people into permanent shelter by the end of the year.

The new Office of Housing Opportunities will be a division of the COVID Command Center, shifting responsibilities away from the Department of Homelessness. Chris Block, formerly the director of the chronic homelessness division at Tipping Point, a nonprofit focused on battling poverty and homelessness, is directing the effort.

People living on the streets of San Francisco, like the residents of these tents, will have a higher likelihood of accessing housing due to a new ordinance.

Hundreds More Homeless People Could Get Housing Under Emergency Policy

More than 600 people living on San Francisco’s streets could soon get placed in permanent supportive housing.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an emergency ordinance that lifts restrictions on
who can access this type of shelter, which includes services like mental health and substance use treatment and employment assistance.

Abigail Stewart-Kahn, interim director of San Francisco's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Advocates Press SF to Fill Supportive Housing Vacancies With People Living on Streets

San Francisco should move people living on the streets to the top of the list for permanent supportive housing, advocates and service providers said Tuesday.

The current system of setting aside all available housing units specifically for homeless people living in shelter-in-place hotels is not proving effective, advocates and city officials said at a hearing of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance committee.

Inside Compass Family Services’ main resource hub.

Though Eligible for Vaccine, Some Homelessness Response Workers Turned Away

Mary Kate Bacalao, director of external affairs and policy at Compass Family Services and co-chair of the Homeless Emergency Service Providers Association, spoke with “Civic” about how her staff — and other workers in the sector — have experienced the process of figuring out their eligibility for a vaccine and actually getting one.