San Francisco, CA
The Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge is a San Francisco-based organization that challenges San Francisco residents and local government to pilot and implement strategic and cost-effective actions to increase livability and reduce the pain points for unhoused residents living in encampments as well as their surrounding community of housed neighbors and local businesses. Due to the severe shortage of available long-term shelter and supportive housing, San Francisco is tasked with finding interim solutions that address the health and transition needs of unhoused residents (e.g. secure sleep, 24/7 access to toilets, on-site healing and transition services, incomes that add value to the community), creating and enforcing good neighbor agreements between unhoused and housed residents, and preventing the proliferation of further encampments.
SFHC was founded in December 2015 as a fiscally sponsored project of Intersection for the Arts. Over the last year, SFHC leadership, collaborators, and volunteers have coordinated two pop-up showcase and service events with hundreds of participants and volunteers, participated in a working group to shape Supervisor Campos’ successful Navigation Center legislation, piloted an overnight portapotty project on Division Street, helped to build neighborhood support for the Dogpatch Navigation Center, developed an online quiz and survey to engage residents about homelessness that has now been taken by over 1,150 San Francisco Bay Area residents. Of the first 1,000 participants who took the quiz, 94% stated that they learned something new about homelessness in San Francisco and 437 participants challenged their city to provide a minimum of secure sleep, toilet access, and transition services to people living in encampments. SFHC is currently piloting a encampment-managed portapotty project at Box City.