We can bring 75% of our unhoused neighbors inside by 2024. Our neighbors and communities are working against generational challenges of injustice and poverty while facing a global pandemic that has pushed many to the economic brink and beyond.
For the first time, leaders from across the Bay Area, convened by All Home, have come together to create a Regional Action Plan (RAP) that will reduce unsheltered homelessness by 75%.
Local, regional, state, and federal leaders are aligned and committed to disrupting the cycle of homelessness and housing instability in our region. Ending homelessness requires us to work together at every level of government to combat entrenched inequality and poverty caused by generations of systemic racism.
WE MUST ACT NOW – The RAP identifies three concrete solutions we can implement right now in every Bay Area county to provide for the ~35,000 residents who are living outdoors or in conditions unfit for human habitation. These three solutions, identified as the 1-2-4 framework, are:
Bring unsheltered people indoors immediately by funding the interim housing that is needed to do so.
+1 unit of interim housing
Allow families to heal, rebuild, and plan for the future by providing long-term, flexible housing solutions, such as subsidies and supportive housing. For every one unit of interim housing, we should provide two units of these permanent solutions.
+2 units of permanent housing
Keep at-risk families housed through interventions like financial assistance coupled with housing problem-solving and legal services. For every one unit of interim housing, we should provide four units of these interventions to keep families housed.
+4 units of homelessness prevention
This 1-2-4 framework requires rethinking how existing resources are allocated and provides a practical framework for future federal and state investments. Successful implementation of this approach will not only reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness, it will also reduce the number of people at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
All Home and its regional partners have created the first of its kind a Regional Action Plan (RAP) that delivers action steps to reduce unsheltered homelessness by 75% across the Bay Area by 2024. The focus begins on residents experiencing unsheltered homelessness and those with extremely low incomes. We identified a formula to allocate funds and strategies that blends the addition of one new interim housing solution, two new permanent housing solutions, and four interventions for the new and existing funds available for this purpose.
“We recognize that the 1-2-4 Framework provides a common language and solutions for county and local decision makers across the Bay Area. These solutions are also a way to help each other support those experiencing homelessness for the first time or those facing frequent housing challenges. We know local funding is available and so too are new streams of state and federal funding. Our job as leaders is to knit these together in new ways.”
-Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
The moment to act is now. For the first time in decades, federal, state, local and community leaders are all committed to disrupting the cycle of homelessness and housing instability in our region. COVID-19 has exacerbated the inequalities that push thousands of our neighbors and their families into homelessness every year. We cannot wait any longer.
In addition to the 1-2-4 framework, regional leadership identified 8 strategic priorities which are crucial to reach the goal of reducing unsheltered homelessness by 75% in three years.
Secure Shelter-In-Place Housing Locations
Streamline State Funds and Applications for Housing and Homeless Services
Prioritize Extremely Low Income Housing Resources
Extend Covenants of Affordability to Preserve Affordable Housing Supply and Fund Extremely Low Income Tenancy
Extend Eviction Protections
Accelerate Cash Payments to People Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic
Provide Targeted Rental Assistance to Those Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic who are Most Vulnerable to Homelessness
Accelerate Targeted, Data-Informed Regional Prevention Model
Regional leaders assembled the RAP to rethink and reimagine how existing resources are spent today and provide practical recommendations for local, state, federal and private investments. Successful implementation of this approach will not only reduce the number of people currently experiencing homelessness, it will also reduce the number of people who are at high risk of becoming homeless.
The RAP is focused on reducing the number of people experiencing homelesness in the Bay Area, initially targeting those who live outdoors. The RAP also targets extremely low income households - those who make less than 30 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). This population is highly vulnerable to homelessness and therefore must also be considered to reach our goal of reducing unsheltered homelessness by 75%.
It should come as no surprise that a recent study by UCLA’s California Policy Lab found that unsheltered individuals have more significant health challenges than those who are homeless, but sheltered. For example, 84 percent of unsheltered individuals report physical health conditions compared to just 19 percent of sheltered individuals. Significant gaps between the two groups also exist in the areas of mental health and substance abuse. We put our emphasis on this population because it is the right thing to do - morally, compassionately, and for sound public policy.
Homelessness and a lack of affordable housing has been a persistent and urgent problem in the Bay Area for several decades, significantly worsening since 2017. In 2019, according to the HUD Point in Time Count, more than 35,000 residents in the nine-county Bay Area lacked housing or lived outdoors in conditions unfit for human habitation. Many more were living from paycheck to paycheck, at extreme risk of becoming homeless. Although no formal Point in Time counts have been made since 2019, observationally it is clear that the situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Achieving a 75 percent reduction in unsheltered homelessness would result in a dramatic and visible improvement over the current conditions. This goal is intended to be both ambitious and achievable.
In the next three years, the RAP recommends a significant investment in new interim housing and homelessness prevention strategies - offering temporary housing options where people can stabilize and heal, and stemming the flow of people becoming newly homeless. Over the longer term, more permanent housing solutions must be created and funded. These three strategies, taken together, make the 75% reduction goal achievable.
But, interim housing may not be the right fit for everyone. We know that most people who are offered a low-barrier place to stay that is safe, clean, private and meets their personal needs (e.g., accommodating possessions, pets and allowing them to share a space with a partner or child, 24/7 access), will take it. There will also be a very small number of people who are reluctant, afraid or unwilling to take the first step of shelter after being homeless for long periods of time. This can stem from many causes, such as fear, past trauma, or unwillingness to move further away from family or friends. There may also be some individuals who will prefer to stay outdoors or in their vehicles, but we predict this to be a very small percentage of the homeless population. The reduction goal hinges on having a range of available interim housing options, some of which may convert to permanent housing in the future.
Homelessness in the Bay Area is a regional crisis, and this plan takes a regional approach to policies and programs to help solve it. Until now, cities and counties have been doing what they can with limited funds to manage homelessness, but this crisis is not contained by county and city boundaries - and it continues to worsen every year. Our systems do not interact with each other, making it confusing and burdensome for people to get help. The State has mostly deferred to local governments and until very recently, exercised very little in the way of leadership, resources or held local governments accountable to bring about reductions in homelessness.
We know that rapid and meaningful action is possible when public officials join together to adopt and enforce shared policies and performance measures. County public health officials took swift and powerful action together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic. With Project Roomkey, the State allocated $112 million and temporarily helped house 23,000 people in 42 counties in a matter of months. Yet our existing safety net has failed to stop the tidal wave of people who have had no option but to live on the streets. The RAP was created to reach consensus in the region on a shared set of strategies -- and to execute on them with the shared sense of urgency that befits this crisis. The RAP creates a comprehensive set of strategic priorities and a method that leaders from across the region can agree on and execute.
Strategic priorities were decided over the course of a year through a series of monthly meetings of the Regional Impact Council. The Regional Impact Council is a roundtable of policymakers, key affordable housing stakeholders, people with lived experience, social equity and economic mobility stakeholders, housing and homelessness service providers, and business and philanthropic partners. The Council is convened and staffed by All Home, a non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco.
The Council is divided into Steering and Technical Committees. The Steering Committee consists of 25-30 high-profile policymakers, business, equity, and labor leaders. The Technical Committee consists of 30-45 subject matter experts in the fields of affordable housing, service provision, and economic mobility, as well as people with lived experience of homelessness.
Learn more about the Regional Impact Council, and see a full list of members, here.
Yes. This plan is grounded in closing the racial disparities that we see today: Black, brown and indigenous people are disproportionately represented among those currently experiencing homelessness or at high risk for becoming homeless.
This plan explicitly calls for action from the State of California, private and philanthropic partners, and all Bay Area counties to reduce these racial disparities by:
The 1-2-4 framework enables the region to move quickly to reduce unsheltered homelessness by 75% by 2024.
The framework calls for simultaneous investment in three forms of housing solutions: interim housing, permanent housing and homelessness prevention:
The ratio of 1-2-4 is not a cookie-cutter approach, but an investment strategy to reach a balanced system that can respond to people facing a housing crisis before it becomes a catastrophe. The ratio may vary by county depending on where past investments have been made and specific community needs. All three strategies are necessary and interdependent, but our current system is not succeeding at this approach, which is why a new model is needed.
This cost estimate reflects our understanding that the number of unsheltered people in the Bay Area will continue to grow until we invest significantly in reducing the number of people who become homeless and increasing the number of people who are no longer homeless, because they now have a place to call home. The $6.5B would be spent over 5 years, roughly divided between capital and operating costs. The estimate includes the cost of constructing, converting or otherwise securing new interim and permanent housing at a scale commensurate with the need, and providing interventions to prevent at-risk people from becoming homeless. We believe that we have an unprecedented opportunity to develop a strong federal partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration. In the first 100 days after taking office, the new administration moved to significantly expand the number of rental subsidies (vouchers), rental assistance and is developing policy that recognizes affordable housing as much needed infrastructure. The State has recognized its role by creating Project Roomkey and Project Homekey, and there is significant political momentum to move away from one-time budget-year funding requests toward a $2 billion ongoing source of State funds for housing and homelessness in the future. Many local governments control significant amounts of federal pass-through funds and locally generated parcel, sales, and special tax revenues that are required to be spent on homelessness. The RAP calls for marshalling and focusing those funds on the shared priority of dramatic, measurable reduction in unsheltered homelessness.
The Regional Impact Council (RIC), supported by All Home, has already begun work to implement the Plan. Some of the key next steps include:
Over the next year, the Regional Impact Council will also begin to focus on structural reforms to expand economic and social mobility for the extremely low income population (ELI)and to continue to advance racial equity in the Bay Area.
Just as developing the RAP was a regional effort, implementing the RAP will be a regional effort. We are working with public officials and staff in the 9 Bay Area counties to provide the needed support and guidance to implement the RAP as well as with stakeholders working in business, philanthropy, and community-based and advocacy organizations.
The RAP was created by the Regional Impact Council, which consists entirely of members of the Bay Area community. The RIC involved individuals with lived experience through All Home’s Community Advisory Council throughout the process of creating the RAP to ensure their voices were centered in the creation of this plan.
The Regional Action Plan was developed by an unprecedented coalition of Bay Area mayors, housing experts, researchers, non-profit, philanthropic and business leaders, and people with lived experience serving together on the Regional Impact Council. This plan is focused on population reductions of street homelessness. We know that homelessness is a regional problem, and it will take a regional approach to significantly move the needle on homelessness and get our neighbors into secure housing.
We are grateful for community support for the RAP and welcome your assistance. You can sign up to stay informed here. If you are interested in scheduling a presentation of the RAP please reach out to Nahema Washington at [email protected]