Among the San Francisco’s urban areas, there is a significant number of homeless people sleeping on the streets. Recent sky-high housing prices and tech boom have forced San Franciscans to find shelter on the streets, in cars, even in abandoned buildings.
San Francisco has the highest rate for homeless people sleeping in the streets in the United States. Experts agree the social phenomenon started in the late ’70s and early ’80s, a time when housing programs and social services for America’s low-income earners were cut and eliminated. Consequently, it has been government policies and massive funding cuts what has created today’s housing crisis.
“When we look at the affordable housing crisis today, there’s a direct line back to really severe cuts that were made to critical affordable housing programs under the Reagan administration,” says President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), Diane Yentel.
According to the US National Low Income Housing Coalition, the country counts today with only three affordable and available housing units for low-income families. One of them is San Francisco’s Housing Choice Voucher program.
— PHC SF (@PHCSF) July 5, 2016
San Francisco’s Housing Choice Voucher
However, San Francisco’s low-income residents have apparently an option for the housing crisis. The Housing Choice Voucher let low-income people live in market-rate apartments. A program is a form of government assistance to provide substantial housing assistance to low-income people.
Those who receive housing vouchers are not sent to public housing projects. Instead, housing vouchers recipients have the possibility of living in market-rate apartments. They just have to contribute a fixed percentage of their income to pay the properties’ rent. In general terms, they only have to pay a 30% of the total price, and the program is in charge of covering the rest.
The vouchers are a national program currently managed by thousands of local agencies. The Housing Choice Vouchers program was created in the 1970s to solve the enormous homeless problem the city has been facing for a long time.
Nevertheless, the voucher program is not receiving the proper governmental support to meet the demand of housing for low-income American families.
“For almost a century, there has been broad consensus in America that families should spend no more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Until recently, most renting families met this goal. But times have changed… across America. Every year in this country, people are evicted from their homes not by the tens of thousands or even the hundreds of thousands but by the millions,” wrote Harvard anthropologist Matthew Desmond, in his recent award-winning book, “Evicted”.
This means that even if it might seem like a solution for America’s poorest people, the voucher project is far away from fulfilling its objective. It is not only a matter of governmental funding; it is also an issue of the internal organization of agencies administering the program.
KQED answers user-submitted questions on homelessness https://t.co/5fza4s7YgV
— PHC SF (@PHCSF) July 1, 2016