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Tents Housing Homeless On San Francisco Streets Down 65% In A Year, City Says

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – The number of tents housing homeless residents on San Francisco streets dropped by 65 percent over the last year, marking the lowest tent count seen in the city over the last two years, city officials said Wednesday.

According to newly released data from the office of Mayor London Breed, as of April of this year, there were 383 tents in the city -- a significant reduction compared to 1,108 tents recorded back in April 2020.

Additionally, as of last month, there were just nine large homeless encampments -- defined as six or more tents. Compared to 66 encampments recorded back in April 2020, the data shows an 86 percent drop.

The data also showed the number of tents throughout the city have been reduced by 41 percent from pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, when 649 tents were recorded January 2020.

Despite the drop in tents and encampments, the data showed the number vehicles housing homeless residents increased, with 877 vehicles recorded as of last month, compared to 715 in April 2020.

According to the data, the city's South of Market, Mission and Tenderloin neighborhoods have the highest number of tents and encampments above all other neighborhoods. Meanwhile areas like the Bayview, Hunters Point, Lakeshore and Candlestick Point State Recreation Area have the most vehicles housing homeless residents.

The latest data is the result of tent and vehicle counts conducted throughout the city every three months, starting back in 2019.

According to the mayor's office, the reduction in tents and encampments can be credited to a widespread effort to increase placements for homeless residents that began during the pandemic, when shelter capacity had to be reduced by 75 percent for health and safety reasons.

Since the pandemic began, the city has placed more than 10,000 homeless people in hotel rooms, safe sleep sites, trailers and new emergency shelter beds. In addition, despite reduced capacity within the city's shelter system, the city currently serves some 1,400 homeless residents daily in the system, the mayor's office said.

The dip in tents and encampments comes as Breed's office continues to implement the Homeless Recovery Plan, which seeks to create new placements for homeless residents, with the largest expansion of permanent supportive housing in 20 years. The plan aims to provide 6,000 new placements for homeless residents and to purchase or lease 1,500 new units of permanent supportive housing between July 2020 and June 2022.

To date, the city has provided 1,620 new placements, 27 percent of its goal, and has purchased or leased 765 new units of permanent supportive housing, 51 percent of its goal, the mayor's office said.

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