These are just some of the questions people ask Google about homelessness in San Francisco, according to Google Trends. Many of these questions don’t have simple answers, and decades of efforts have not significantly moved the needle. There are more than 6,600 homeless people in the city, many of whom are children. People who experience homelessness often struggle from chronic stress, trauma, and frequent moves, and are unable to take advantage of many educational or economic opportunities.
We want to do our part in tackling this complex issue. Since 2014, Google.org has invested more than $5 million in Bay Area nonprofits who are working to combat homelessness, and today we’re committing an additional $1.2 million for these efforts. The Google News Lab is also joining the San Francisco Chronicle and 70+ news outlets across the country to help raise awareness as part of the Beyond Homelessness initiative, launching today.
The organizations we’re supporting are tackling the issue of homelessness in new ways and from multiple angles, and include Hamilton Family Center, Larkin Street Youth Services, HandUp, First Place for Youth, Lava Mae, LifeMoves, Abode Services - Project Welcome Home, GLIDE, Downtown Streets Team and Destination: Home.
In San Francisco and across the Bay area, these 10 organizations provide a range of services and programs focused on rapid re-housing and prevention, basic services, job training and more. Our newest grantee, Destination: Home, plans to use their $1 million grant to build a rapid re-housing system for homeless families in Mountain View and Sunnyvale in the form of security deposits, motel stays, time-limited rental assistance, move-in assistance, and a support system to make sure individuals and families find stable housing.
HandUp has helped both homeless and low-income individuals and families overcome poverty via a giving platform that connects donors directly with neighbors who are struggling to meet basic needs. The Downtown Streets Team provides a work experience program for homeless men and women through beautification projects in San Francisco’s Civic Center/Mid-Market neighborhoods. And Lava Mae is expanding their mobile showers for the homeless to Los Angeles with an additional $200K in Google.org grant funding.
One in 25 kids in San Francisco Unified School District are homeless, and many families face at least a nine-month wait list for temporary shelter. In 2015, we supported the Hamilton Family Center (HFC) with a $1 million grant aimed to reduce the homeless family wait list for shelter by creating direct lines of communication with SFUSD teachers and staff to report and respond to new and potential cases of homelessness. HFC has already seen a 25 percent reduction in the family wait list, and hopes to continue that momentum.