What is happening in San Francisco?

According to a study done by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, there are an estimated 20,000 homeless people in San Francisco. That same study shows that 39% of that population has 1 or more disabling conditions. In San Francisco, 1 in 4 people with disabilities live in poverty. Adults with disabilities who are employed are more than twice as likely to experience poverty. All of this includes individuals with developmental disabilities (I/DD).

According to the SF Human Services Agency, 60% of I/DD are renters. Many people also live in their communities with help from Medi-Cal’s In-Home Supportive Services program. But why do we have such a huge housing crisis in California? We must learn that a few major factors in the homeless crisis are inadequate shelter spaces and the yearly increase in housing costs. According to rent.com, the average cost for a 1 bedroom apartment in San Francisco in 2022 is around $3,500. San Francisco grocery costs are 29.8 percent higher than the national average. Utility rates are also 33.8 percent higher than the national average. Healthcare prices are 33.9 percent higher than the national average. 

What is California doing to help fix the homeless crisis for I/DD? 

There are a few programs that are being offered to adults. One of them is the Assisted Living Waiver (ALW). ALW provides personal care assistance, homemaker services, and home health aides in Adult Residential Facilities, Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly, and Public Subsidized Housing. California also provides the Home, and Community-based Services for the developmentally disabled (HCBS-DD). This authorizes homes and community-based services for developmentally disabled persons who are Regional Center consumers. In the state of California, there are 21 regional centers. These centers allow individuals to live in their communities instead of an Intermediate Care Facility for the developmentally disabled or a State Developmental Center. 

What other options do Individuals with Development Disabilities have?

There are many organizations in San Francisco that support Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Many of these organizations provide housing to individuals. In 2019 Helpers Community Inc in collaboration with the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center opened two residential homes. Each home can house up to 11 adults with I/DD. Helpers Community Inc was founded in 1953 as a residence for individuals with down syndrome. Currently, its main goal is to enrich the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and provide grant program support for organizations in the bay area. Helpers Community Inc works with The ARC SF which provides program participants and collaborates with Helpers Community to create a workforce development and employment program. Helpers Artisan Boutique is unique in that all products in the store for sale are created by I/DD and from other organizations with a similar goal.

What can I do to help?

One important thing that people can do to support organizations that help Individuals with developmental disabilities. That can be done by volunteering and donating. Below is a list of Community-Based Agencies that support people with disabilities. https://sfgov.org/mod/community-based-agencies-serving-people-disabilities



  1. San Francisco Homeless Count and Survey 2022 Comprehensive Report. 
  2. Rezal, Adriana, and Erin Caughey. “Key Facts about Homelessness in San Francisco.” The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, 29 June 2022, 
  3. Mayor’s Office on Disability