The Power of Independent Thinking

Campaign for Housing
and Human Dignity
Project Overview

Please consider joining us as we develop and promote innovative solutions to end the homelessness crisis in California. We are working with a unique coalition of for- and non-profits in San Francisco to move ideas into impact in restoring our communities and help countless individuals and families achieve their full potential. We are inviting you to be part of the solution and join us in our Campaign for Housing and Human Dignity—a research, promotional, and direct service initiative from the Independent Institute.

How Did Homelessness Get So Out of Control?

Government policies have made homelessness worse.
(Photo of encampment outside San Francisco City Hall)
California’s state and local governments have failed to curb rapidly increasing homelessness. Even while homelessness rates have declined nationally, communities in California have seen dramatic increases, with an estimated 151,000 (31% increase from 2015) people now experiencing homelessness across the state.

The cause for this tragic increase can be attributed primarily to failing state and local government policies that have fueled homelessness. This includes directing funding almost exclusively to “Housing First:” a “one-size-fits-all” approach to homelessness. Using this approach towards every homeless individual in California would be prohibitively expensive ($75 billion)—yet studies show “Housing First” does not reduce homelessness. Meanwhile, an immense government regulatory regime on housing development disincentivizes and obstructs the building of all housing, driving the crisis in affordable housing.

Percentage Increase of Homeless Population in California Since 2017
Spending vs. Homelessness in San Francisco
What Are We Doing to Solve Homelessness?
Producing Pathbreaking Research Into the Causes of Homelessness. It all starts with rigorous research. We are currently finalizing an in-depth, peer-reviewed Independent Policy Report analyzing the causes of homelessness and laying out bold solutions, including examples of successful alternative approaches. Presenting a forward-looking, optimistic, and solutionsoriented vision, and connecting these ideas with organizations and networks as below, we can inspire new directions to erase the scourge of homelessness in our communities.
Putting Ideas Into Action in San Francisco. Independent is the designated policy partner for an exciting new coalition of 30 for- and non-profit organizations developing a way out of homelessness for every San Francisco resident who suffers from substance abuse and desires to change. This includes the development of 1,500 beds of sober, “transformational housing,” to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with programming including recovery, workforce development and job placement, and wrap-around support services for achieving their full potential.
Amplifying Our Findings and Solutions Through Entrepreneurial Marketing and Promotion. In addition to utilizing social media platforms, the Independent Institute moves our research to impact by securing feature stories, interviews, and op-eds across major online, broadcast and print media outlets such as in NPR, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, we’ll hold in-person and virtual events featuring a panel of experts and coalition partners to engage key audiences as well as the general public.
Media Reach So Far in 2020
Producing a High-Impact Documentary on Homelessness to Reach Millions of Californians. The Independent Institute is differentiated by its innovative multi-media approach to sharing our findings, solutions, and perspective, including our wildly successful Love Gov YouTube series that has garnered over 35 million views and 31 film awards and laurels to date. Building on this track record, we will produce a compelling 30-minute documentary presenting our findings and recommendations through narrative-driven storytelling.
Join Us!

Please consider financially supporting the Independent Institute’s Campaign for Housing and Human Dignity! Your partnership with us in this critical initiative will enable us to positively impact lives and communities across California—and beyond—which we are rolling out in early 2021!

For more information, please contact our Senior Director of Advancement, Carla C. Zuber at [email protected]


  • Catalyst