Bernal Neighbor Named Director of City’s New Homelessness Office


While Bernal residents keep an eye on efforts to address the homeless encampment underneath the Cesar Chavez/101 interchange, one Bernal Heights neighbor will soon be paying particularly close attention: Yesterday, neighbor Jeff Kositsky of Precitaville was introduced as the first director of the City’s new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Heather Knight from the San Francisco Chronicle covered Neighbor Jeff’s appointment:

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s plan for a new department of homelessness — an idea bandied about at City Hall for at least 14 years — is taking shape, with a budget of at least $160 million, nearly 200 workers and a new director, who was announced Wednesday.

He’s Jeff Kositsky, a well-known figure in the city’s homeless service system. Since 2013, he has worked as executive director of Hamilton Family Center, which provides emergency shelter and other services to homeless families. He led the Community Housing Partnership, which manages housing for 1,300 formerly homeless adults, for nine years before that.

“The city has all of these amazing programs that are really world-class,” Kositsky said. “To be able to bring all of those under the same department under a unified strategy to help really amplify Mayor Lee’s vision for addressing homelessness in San Francisco is an honor and an amazing opportunity.”

In his new role, Neighbor Jeff will oversee a department with 110 employees and an annual budget of more than $160 million. His top priorities in the big new job will include opening more Navigation Centers to provide interim shelter for the homeless and deploying a new information system to improve management and coordination of homeless cases and services. The new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing will launch on July 1.

PHOTO: Neighbor Jeff Kositsky photographed by Connor Radnovich for The San Francisco Chronicle

12 thoughts on “Bernal Neighbor Named Director of City’s New Homelessness Office

  1. Let us wish Mr. Kositsky the best of luck. The main problem for the homeless is a personal lack of income. If those people had enough money I sincerely doubt they would spend five minutes under a freeway. They are people just like you and me. The longer they stay out on the street being pushed around by cops and DPW staff the less able they are to make a comeback and the more it will cost us.

    • I have to disagree. The main problem for the homeless is drug addiction and mental health challenges. Those lead to a lack of income, but those issues need to be directly addressed if these people have any chance of getting off the street.

  2. Congratulations to Jeff and I hope he does well in the new job. The numbers here are crazy though. According to the 2015 homeless survey there are 6,686 homeless people in San Francisco. Assuming this figure is accurate, the budget for this department alone is $160 Million, which means that we’re spending at least $23,000 a year on each homeless person. That doesn’t include all the additional money the city allocates to homeless needs, such as DPW, Park and Rec, law enforcement, health care, etc. It also doesn’t include state or federal funding, things like section 8 housing.

    When you add up the numbers we’re spending a staggering amount of money on each and every homeless person. Even with soaring rents, there are people in the city who are getting by with a full time job where they earn less that the total we spend on every homeless person.

    The city’s response to the homeless problem has cost tax payers a massive amount of money and it’s resulted in a complete failure. For the money we’re spending, tax payers should never have to worry about walking under freeways, never deal with drug addicts camping outside their homes, never feel uncomfortable walking to the corner store late at night, and never have to deal with a crazy, scary, panhandler while walking to lunch from their downtown office. All of this should be accomplished while still taking care of the needs of homeless people.

    It’s great that the city is attempting something new, but when we, the tax payers, are setting up a department that has a budget of $23,000 per homeless person we need to see results now. Not next year, not when some new building is open, not when yet another federal grant (also tax payer funded) comes through, but now. We’ve been waiting years, spending ridiculous amounts of money, and no progress has been made. No more promises, no more excuses, fix this now! Also, what the hell are 110 employees going to do?

    • The city is going to try something new, now, with Jeff Kositsky in charge. Did you not read about it? They’re consolidating the various efforts under one roof with Kositsky in charge. Seems like a good common sense approach. And Mr. Kositsky’s credentials look solid. They are trying something new, now.

    • That $241 million dollar amount is largely paying for 6,300 supportive housing units with 24 HR staffing for 10,000 formerly homeless. SF spends around $50 million on outreach, shelter, drop-in resouce centers, navigation centers, and other programs for those currently homeless – or about $20 a day per homeless person. Remember that the 6,686 number is very dynamic and many people come in and out of homelessness over the year.

    • Isn’t this the model we do have? Article cites a “housing first” model and it looks like SF has one, too?

  3. Having worked with the homeless in Golden Gate Park, I can confidently say that the solution to the problem is HUMANE institutionalization with mental health and drug rehabilitation goal services. But the collective responsibility for this was nixed by Ronald Reagan and the rich, who do not ever have to see the homeless, and therefore it followed that they shouldn’t have to pay for them at a State level. So now SF is the confluence of most Western homeless people and the decades fly by with expectations eternally renewed with every new appointment. With all our space-agey achievements here, the root causes of the problem can not be dealt with, so an endless game of whack-a-mole ensues. I sincerely wish the new director all the success in the world, but the homeless will always be with us.

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