San Francisco homeless people get $410 in cash each month. Has this reduced homeless?

According to this article in the Washington Post the homeless people in San Francisco receive direct cash assistance of $ 410. per month. How has this worked out overall in terms of real world effectiveness in reducing the homelessness problem?

Especially looking for some input from San Francisco dopers if possible.

Against the cash payments from The San Francisco Examiner

Let’s solve S.F.'s No. 1 problem
Against cutting the cash payments from the San Francisco Bay View

Pay cuts to poor people mean more homelessness

You doubled up your link there, Astro ( left out the Examiner piece ).

Anyway just to correct a possible misconception, these payments are not homeless-specific, nor were they designed to end homelessness. Rather it is a state-mandated, but county-funded GA program that provides assistance of last resort to those that fall through the cracks of federal welfare programs. Such folks are frequently the homeless, but not exclusively so, as I can attest as my ( now employed and weakly solvent ) non-homeless mother ended up on GA for several months back in the late 80’s*.

The difficulty comes in that there is no central oversight of GA programs - the state mandates that they exist, but the counties oversee and fund them seperately. As a result there is a significant county-to-county variance in amounts of aid provided, eligibility, duration of benefits, etc… Consequently there is some perception that the indigent in particular tend to migrate to counties with better ( if still pretty minimal ) aid packages, increasing the financial strain on those particular counties. Which can lead to further restrictions on the program.

This is what is happening in SF ( where the county and city are essentially synonomous ). It is perceived ( probably correctly ) as a magnet for the homeless, due to milder climate ( both weather and politically ) and relatively generous benefits ( relative being an important caveat - a really cheap studio apt. in a crappy neighborhood in SF still starts at about $700/month ). Hence this initiative, intended to both ease the financial burden on the city/county and reduce its attractiveness as a destination for the homeless ( however the benefits aren’t the only inducement to migration - personally I’m dubious that even a complete elimination would seriously reduce it ).

My opinion? Neutral to mildly negative. Given that I am pro-welfare state in general ( liberal, don’t ya know :wink: ), I don’t have any particular philosophical objections to the GA program. I am however sympathetic to the bind the cities/counties find themselves in as GA rolls continue to expand. It’s just I remain undecided if this initiative is an acceptable way out. The Bayview article you linked to points out a few potential holes, one of which is that it may ultimately end up backfiring and put more folks out on the street. Which you could say on one hand is legitimate as those would be folks in violation of leases by crowding extra bodies into apartments to reduce costs, but in my own subjective judgement the greater good is served by keeping folks housed, However I admit to a bias in that as I have a friend that manage to survive in SF by technically violating a lease and pretending he and his roommate are a couple in order to have two incomes for their one bedroom apartment.

  • Tamerlane
    • Less anyone think I am unfilial, I was, in fact, helping to support my mother at the time. Ultimately this ended up terminating her GA, as after waffling for a few months they decided that my input would be acceptable if she lived under my roof, but maintaining seperate residences any money I gave her should be counted as income ( fair enough, though I did find their indecision on the issue and initial acceptance of the arrangement rather puzzling ). This of course shifted the whole economic burden on too me, which was okay I guess ( I managed to pull it off ), but did plunge me into a mild financial crisis it took me some time to dig out of.

Thanks for reply and heads up!

Against the cash payments from The San Francisco Examiner

Let’s solve S.F.'s No. 1 problem