San Francisco Mayor Releases Historic Plan to End Transgender Homelessness

San Francisco Mayor London Breed released a plan to end homelessness among transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) San Franciscans by 2027, making San Francisco the first U.S. city to commit to this goal. Mayor Breed’s two-year budget proposal for fiscal years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, released on June 1, outlines investments that aim to end homelessness among TGNC residents within the next five years.

“TGNC people throughout the country are extremely vulnerable to becoming homeless due to how stigma, violence, and barriers to economic development conspire to keep trans people out of safe and stable housing,” said Pau Crego, executive director of the San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives. “Even in San Francisco, where we have an incredibly rich history and legacy of trans advocacy, 50% of trans residents have experienced homelessness in their lifetime. As our communities are targeted by anti-trans legislation throughout the country, we know that TGNC people will be forced to move to safer regions, which makes our plan to end trans homelessness in San Francisco even more necessary and urgent.”

The budget would dedicate $6 million over two years to fund short-term rental subsidies, flexible financial assistance, and resources to build capacity for organizations that serve TGNC San Franciscans. The proposal would allocate 150 slots from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s (HSH) adult Flexible Housing Subsidy Program or from future federal emergency housing vouchers to TGNC San Franciscans. The budget would also fund the acquisition and operation of a Permanent Supportive Housing site for LGBTQ+ young adults. The site would offer 50 to 80 permanent supportive housing units. Finally, the budget would dedicate $500,000 to fund behavioral health services for TGNC clients through HSH and the Department of Public Health (DPH).

HSH will implement the plan in collaboration with the Office of Transgender Initiatives (OTI), the Mayor’s Office on Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), DPH, and nonprofit partners. The proposal to end trans homelessness will be integrated into the city’s broader strategic plan on homelessness, which is set to be completed later this year.

According to Mayor Breed’s office, an estimated 400 TGNC San Franciscans experience homelessness at any given time – with Black, Indigenous, Latina and other trans women of color facing the greatest threats to their safety. Housing discrimination based on gender identity adds yet another obstacle to achieving housing stability for transgender individuals and puts them at risk of homelessness. The National Alliance to End Homelessness found that the number of adult transgender individuals experiencing homelessness increased by 88% between 2016 and 2020 nationwide. In addition, transgender individuals are more likely to experience unsheltered homelessness. Because of discrimination and family rejection, LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately represented among youth experiencing homelessness.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee will hold public hearings on Mayor Breed’s budget proposal in June and make recommendations before submitting the proposal to the full Board. The Board of Supervisors will vote on final approval by August 1 and return the proposal to Mayor Breed for her signature.