The gift will be used to launch the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, a new center in San Francisco that will support experts conducting research on the root causes of homelessness, identify evidence-based solutions to prevent and end it, and train the next generation of homelessness researchers. As part of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations, the work done at the center will complement and integrate research being conducted across the university and provide an accessible resource for policy makers and community leaders seeking to address homelessness in their own neighborhoods.
According to UCSF, the gift is the largest-ever private donation in support of homelessness research. San Francisco's 2017 Homelessness Point-in-Time report found that approximately seventy-five hundred people are homeless in the city — 58 percent of them unsheltered — as rising housing costs and income inequality force more people, including families and older adults, into homelessness.
"There is no medicine as powerful as housing," said Margot Kushel, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations, who will direct the new initiative. "But the problem is complex. We know a lot about how to end homelessness, but that knowledge doesn't always reach policy makers and is often not properly targeted. We have far more to learn about designing the most effective ways to prevent and end homelessness."
"The world needs a North Star for truth on homelessness," said Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, who, together with his wife, have committed a total of $66 million in support of efforts to prevent and end homelessness in San Francisco. "The UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative will be that North Star, providing the latest research, data, and evidence-based solutions to ensure we're investing in programs that will help solve the homelessness crisis."
(Photo credit: Shannon Badiee/Creative Commons)