66 pages, 1.2 MB

This Policy Report’s findings are summarized in the Executive Summary Beyond Homeless: Policy Solutions for the Bay Area and Beyond, and is part of Independent’s Beyond Homeless initiative, which also includes the documentary Beyond Homeless: Finding Hope.


It has become self-evident that homelessness is a substantial and growing problem in California, and elsewhere. It is a growth not only in sheer numbers, but also in visibility, with even well-to-do neighborhoods, such as Cupertino and parts of Orange County, experiencing the rise of tent cities. Despite dramatic increases in funding and billions of dollars spent in recent years—with the money coming from taxpayers, nonprofit organizations, and private charities—the homelessness problem in California, and particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, continues to worsen.

Nevertheless, there is more that can be done. Seeking a remedy to this humanitarian crisis, the report acknowledges what bureaucrats have missed. It is precisely because people are different, face different challenges, and begin—and continue—to experience homelessness for different reasons, that a multifaceted and individualized approach to the problem is necessary.

Not only does this report highlight certain policies and strategies that have disastrous track records, but it also offers transformative solutions that challenge the status quo and prevailing approaches. Our recommendations broadly fall into two main categories: 1) those related to policies that address those currently experiencing homelessness and 2) those related to housing policies that, if left unaddressed, may push more people into homelessness in the future. We conclude with powerful examples of how other cities have paved the way for a successful ending of homelessness in America.