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What UCSF’s Statewide Homelessness Study Found out About the Causes of California’s Crisis

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Tents line the sidewalk in San Francisco's financial district.
 (Diane Bentley Raymond via Getty Images)

It’s a common belief about homeless people in California: they move here from other places because of the state’s tolerance, mild weather, and generous services. But according to a recent UCSF study, at least ninety percent of those experiencing homelessness lived in California before losing their housing and 75% are in the same county they used to live in. In the largest study of its kind in nearly three decades, researchers talked to thousands of participants about their experiences to find out what factors pushed them over the edge into homelessness. The real story, researchers found, has more to do with the state’s poverty, inequality, and high housing costs. As part of our ongoing series about homelessness in the Bay Area  we’ll dig into the findings with the study’s author and formerly homeless Californians who advised on the project.

Read the UCSF study here.


Margot Kushel, director, UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, and principal investigator of the study; professor of medicine, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital the Director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations

Jesica Giannola, Lived Expertise Advisory Board representative, UCSF Benioff Homeless and Housing Initiative

Robynne Rose-Haymer, Lived Expertise Advisory Board representative, UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative


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