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Mayor says SF has cut homeless by 12,000

Mayor Gavin Newsom said he has reduced the homeless population of San Francisco by 12,000 since taking office in 2004.

The number includes those helped by programs such as Care Not Cash, which slashes welfare checks in exchange for housing, and Homeward Bound, which pays for people’s bus tickets home.

Newsom referred to former Mayor Willie Brown and his famous statement homelessness could never be solved in San Francisco, saying, “It can be solved,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

Dariush Kayhan, Newsom’s director of homeless policy, said around 7,000 people have found permanent supportive housing, and that 90 percent who find housing are able to stay housed. The city paid for 5,000 bus tickets for homeless folks who had a receptive relative or friend to pick them up.

A biennial homeless count shows a 25 percent drop in homelessness since Newsom took office. However, those numbers show the drop occurred between 2003 and 2005. Homelessness has risen slightly since then.

As part of his campaign for lieutenant governor, Newsom wants to expand his homeless programs, such as one-stop shop for homeless services Project Homeless Connect, to the entire state.

The city estimated there were 6,500 homeless people in the city earlier this year, but homeless experts put the number at between 10,000 to 15,000, according to the San Jose Mercury News.