Regional solutions are essential to solve regional challenges. Addressing the Bay Area’s interrelated crises of housing affordability, homelessness, transportation, and income inequality require regional planning and alignment. While the nine Bay Area counties have established robust homeless response systems, the systems are not coordinated across county lines. The result is that the Bay Area, as a whole, has only a limited understanding of homelessness as a regional problem. Without regional data, we do not have a full picture of homelessness in the Bay Area, the extent of service duplication and inefficiencies, or the success of investments in system and program interventions.
As people experiencing homelessness flow in and out of jurisdictions, take shelter on regional public transportation, and individually access systems of care in multiple communities, the challenges of ensuring they receive the expeditious and streamlined assistance they require to exit homelessness are compounded. Resources across the Bay Area are duplicated and the people most in need continue to fall through the cracks that exist between systems.
The Bay Area’s solutions to homelessness require the counties to develop an ability within the region to align – and track – the care and resources individuals receive across jurisdictions, to evaluate outcomes, and to optimize regional resources to meet regional needs.