Executive Summary

In May 2017, Tipping Point Community, a Bay Area nonprofit organization, launched a $100 million initiative to halve chronic homelessness in San Francisco in five years. To reach its goal, CHI is relying on three strategies: (1) increasing placements of people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing, (2) preventing people from becoming chronically homeless, and (3) changing systems . This report describes progress made in 2021 toward CHI’s placement goals, successes and challenges, and lessons learned. This report details key progress Tipping Point and city partners made in expanding housing and prevention programming as well as efforts to advance equity and elevate the voices of people with lived experience. The report also looks forward to the last year of the initiative and future evaluation activities.

Progress in 2021

Progress toward the ultimate goal of halving chronic homelessness remained challenging in 2021. In 2021, San Francisco’s government and nonprofit partners placed into housing an estimated 1,271 people experiencing chronic homelessness. Based on modeling and projections of how many people the city would need to place to meet the CHI goal in 2023, city partners fell short of their target by 121 placements. Despite falling short of projected needed placements, the 2021 placements represent significant progress toward placement projections in comparison with prior years, when shortfalls were more than 500 placements. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, city partners were unable to conduct the typical point-in-time count, resulting in gaps in knowledge about progress toward the overall goal in 2023.


Progress in 2021 was hindered by system-capacity challenges, including a slow and inconsistent pace of referrals of people to housing programs, a failure to fill vacant site-based PSH units, barriers to entry in PSH programs, and struggles to demobilize the hotels used to shelter people during the pandemic. Many of the challenges respondents identified predated the pandemic but were exacerbated by pandemic conditions and pressures. For example, documentation requirements for PSH, such as government-issued identification and social security cards, were a long-standing challenge, but the pandemic resulted in several closures of social security and other offices, making documentation more challenging to obtain than usual.

Read the full article about the Chronic Homelessness Initiative at Urban Institute.