SAN FRANCISCO - The homeless crisis is perhaps the most challenging problem in San Francisco. But there may be glimmer of hope as a local nonprofit called Tipping Point has pledged $100 million to help. Their promise could cut that population in half in five years.
The last time the city counted its homeless population was in 2015. The number was more than 6,600. But of those, just over 1,700 were deemed chronically homeless, meaning they've lived out here for more than a year, suffer from mental illnesses, and have a drug or alcohol problem.
"They're hard," said Mayor Ed Lee. "They're the ones that are ending up in emergency shelter systems, in our shelters at night, they can't even live on their own if we got them a room; they're in bad shape."
The nonprofit Tipping Point focuses on eradicating poverty in the Bay Area. The organization's goal is to focus on an area where few have succeeded.
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"The chronic homeless population absolutely not only needs to be housed, but they need services attached to their placements," said Tipping Point founder Daniel Lurie.
Here's an example -- the city wanted to expand the medical respite and sobering center, but lacked the funds. Tipping Point donated more than $600,000 to add 30 beds. It now has 75. Those with psychiatric needs will get specific treatment that they would never get in a shelter.
The nonprofit is known for its accountability.
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"All of the money will be approved by the Tipping Point board, so we have full control over the $100 million," said Lurie.
Currently the city spends $265 million a year on the entire homeless population
Bevan Dufty is the former homeless czar. He says spending $100 million on a very specific group of people could be a game changer.
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"What I really see is that when you have outside non-governmental money you can do things fast," he said.
Tipping Point also wants to spend money on programs that would keep the most vulnerable from falling into homelessness in the first place.
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