The San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA), in partnership with the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) and the Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP), has worked to successfully house families that are re-unifying through the child welfare system in a demonstration program called Families Moving Forward (FMF).
The SFHA has an allocation of Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers which are used to provide rental subsidies to the eligible families. The SFHA had several years experience utilizing FUP vouchers with the absence of the non-profit partnership that is unique to the FMF demonstration program. While still successful in re-unifying families prior to the demonstration, the SFHA has found that with the incorporation of the HPP partners, operations have been streamlined, timeliness of voucher utilization has improved and the families served have a stronger support system to help them navigate the public housing intake and lease-up process.
San Francisco’s rental market is one of the most competitive in the country which adds a whole new set of challenges to families who are seeking stable rental housing. Through the ongoing collaboration with the HSA and HPP partners, the SFHA has benefited tremendously in identifying operational efficiency and also has given the families served the opportunity to successfully compete in a tight market.
The SFHA has an overall program success rate of less than 30% for families utilizing general Housing Choice Vouchers, but with the additional wrap-around services and a housing search component that is provided by HPP, San Francisco sees much higher rates of success for the families served in the FMF program.
Based on the thriving partnerships and participation in this demonstration program and the successes that we’ve observed, the SFHA is considering expanding the FMF model to other populations served by Section 8 rental subsidies.
Sarah Ramler, Director of Leased Housing, San Francisco Housing Authority
San Francisco Families Moving Forward is one five grantees receiving assistance from the CSH Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center. The grantees are testing an intensive approach to providing child welfare involved families with supportive housing that integrates social and health services. The initiative reflects the growing recognition that placing children in foster care is too often detrimental to their health and well-being and that more should be done to help families stay together.