What it really costs to help the homeless. And how businesses can do more


A quiz for you, dear readers. Which one of these is true? (A) Elvis is still alive. (B) The Loch Ness monster exists. (C) San Francisco spends more than $40,000 per homeless person each year. It’s a trick question. None of them is true, not even close. People all over the world hold deep beliefs that are patently silly. Here, spending on the homeless ranks near the top of the list.

Of the $250 million Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing spent last year, two-thirds went to people who aren’t homeless at all. That’s the amount spent on rental subsidies, eviction prevention and permanent supportive housing. Those are great causes, but they’re aimed at preventing people from becoming homeless or to house the formerly homeless.

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