San Francisco is winding down the Shelter-in-Place (SIP) Hotel Program through September 2022 as federal and state funding for the program comes to an end and many guests transition to the City’s expanding portfolio of permanent housing.
While additional shelter and permanent housing capacity is needed, the City is prioritizing more cost-effective solutions for people experiencing homelessness to live and thrive in our community.
SIP Hotel Guest Exit Process
As part of Mayor Breed’s Homelessness Recovery Plan, the City is expanding long-term housing options and offering stable exits to guests leaving the SIP hotels. The City started a coordinated effort to house SIP guests starting in November 2020. Since then, HSH has followed a multi-step process to transition guests to stable destinations.
- First, guests participate in assessments to determine the housing options for which they are eligible. These options include permanent housing or a two-year Rapid Rehousing subsidy with support services to enable the tenant to take over their rent. The housing opportunity for which a guest is eligible depends on a number of factors, including their length of homelessness, health vulnerability, barriers to housing, age, and risk of negative impacts from COVID-19.
- In August 2021, housing eligibility broadened to include all guests remaining in the SIP hotels with a demonstrated vulnerability to COVID-19.
- If guests are eligible for housing, they work with staff to learn about their options, identify special needs, and understand next steps. A housing provider will show the guest up to three housing units based on their needs. If the guest accepts an offer of housing, they will work with staff to transition to the unit. If HSH has not yet offered housing to a guest when the hotel they are staying at closes, the guest will be transferred to another SIP hotel site until appropriate housing is available.
- If the guests decline three offers of housing, the City provides Problem Solving services to help the guest identify a stable housing option outside the Homelessness Response System, including reuniting with family and friends through Homeward Bound. The City guarantees a shelter bed for guests who have no other option.
There is a group of other SIP hotel guests who are not eligible for the SIP Housing Process.
- The main reason people were not eligible for housing is because they left the hotels before the City started the coordinated effort to house people in November 2020.
- Guests in this group who are still in the hotels are offered Problem Solving services and shelter bed placements. These guests do not have a high risk of negative impacts from COVID-19.
Housing and Next Steps for Guests
The dashboard below shows the exit destinations for SIP Hotel Guests and the number of current guests in the SIP Hotel Program.
- Click the expand arrows in the bottom-right corner to view the dashboard full screen.
- Use the buttons in the top-left pane to toggle between outcomes for “Guests Eligible for SIP Housing Process” versus “Other SIP Hotel Guests.”
SIP Wind Down and FEMA Funding
As HSH transitions guests to stable exits, the Department is gradually closing SIP hotel sites. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding is coming to an end. The State’s Project Roomkey funding will expire in June 2022. After FEMA and Roomkey funding stops, all costs for this expensive temporary shelter program will be funded at the expense of less expensive programs that create more permanent exits from homelessness. For example, Permanent Supportive Housing is more than twice as cost-effective as the SIP hotels to operate per person per night.
When federal and state funding ends, HSH will not be able to close the hotels immediately. The Department needs time to ensure each client has a sustainable exit option. The work of matching individuals with long-term placements started in July of 2021 and will continue through the summer of 2022. As guests begin to move to housing, the City is gradually closing the SIP hotels and focusing on long-term solutions to homelessness. The dashboard below shows the number of SIP hotel sites that are still active, as well as the total number of sites the City opened since April 2020.
HSH continues to wind down the SIP program at a deliberate pace to support stable guest exits. It takes time for staff and guests to thoughtfully create exit plans, including connections to appropriate housing units. City and provider staff capacity limits the number of guests that can be placed into housing at the same time.
This deliberate process helps guests avoid leaving the SIP Program all at once without a stable exit plan when hotels close. A large number of guests exiting the program without a stable exit plan would likely lead to an increase in encampments with unhealthy and unsafe conditions in consolidated parts of the city.
By winding down the SIP program, the City will be also be able to invest limited provider and staff capacity into long term programs, including permanent housing solutions.