Why Unprecedented Collaboration isn’t Enough – Despite unprecedented collaboration between key players in San Francisco, a City-wide goal to secure permanent housing for 50 homeless veterans in 100 days will likely not be met. The bottom line is we have a problem and it deserves ongoing attention. But in places like San Francisco, it won’t be enough, we need new policies.
Moving forward, the folks behind SF Homes for Heroes (VA, HUD, Housing Authority, City of San Francisco and Swords to Plowshares) are improving outcomes for our veterans during these 100 days. We are building on successes, learning from our shortcomings, and implementing better solutions in the fight against homelessness. We are learning to work on this together.
– Swords to Plowshares
SF Chronicle – SF Homes for Heroes sounds great – a 100-day campaign fueled with federal funding, and underpinned with unprecedented collaboration among government agencies and landlords, to secure permanent housing for homeless veterans. But even San Francisco’s can-do spirit will not house 50 homeless veterans.
What’s needed are different policies at both the federal and local level.
So far, the campaign has found housing for just 10 vets. That leaves 40 with vouchers now and another 140 who will receive federal vouchers later this year.
Bevan Dufty, the mayor’s point man on homelessness, said he got a wake-up call on how difficult this project is in San Francisco’s red-hot rental market. And not every landlord will accept vouchers.
Yet landlord organizations say there is interest in the program. Increased subsidies have helped; flexibility in the city rent-control laws, even for a trial period, would help more.
The federal government needs to look at how the vouchers are allocated: A vet can only use the voucher in the issuing county, even if more suitable housing is available in the next county.
In October, the veterans’ assistance organization Swords to Plowshares will open 60 units of veteran housing where the voucher is attached to the housing, not the vet.
Kudos to the landlords who have stepped up, but we need more.
Source: SF Chronicle, July 1, 2012, editorial