This Friday, the city of San Francisco will launch a new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing with Jeff Kositsky at the helm. Kositsky, who has advocated for homeless rights for more than twenty years, most recently headed the Hamilton Family Center, an emergency shelter for homeless families. We'll talk with Kositsky about his priorities as the department's inaugural director, including the city's goal of establishing six navigation centers to serve homeless around the city in the next two years.
On a Unified Strategy to Address Homelessness
"We need to have a unified city strategy on how we want to address homelessness, not, you know, 60 different non-profit organizations all working to achieve their very honorable and important missions. But the city needs to decide: this is what we wanna do, these are the number of shelter beds we need, this is the number of housing units we need, this is our expectation around outcomes and success for people exiting shelters or people staying in housing, and then we need to drive our resources towards programs that meet the city’s strategy and the city’s priorities."
"The mayor and I, and I think most people in San Francisco agree that encampments are not a healthy, safe or appropriate place for homeless people to stay. They are dangerous, there’s a high rate of sexual assault and crime. I also think that it’s important to recognize that people who live around the encampments and the businesses around the encampments also suffer from fear, from uncertainty, from disruptions of their lives. ...We are actually going to be announcing today the creation of a special encampment response team that’s going to be led by Jason Albertson, who was a longtime member of the [Homeless Outreach Response Team] and has worked closely with law enforcement in other counties.
On the Upcoming Election and Ballot Measures