Ending Homelessness: San Mateo County Seeks Innovative Ideas, With Skin in the Game

South San Francisco, Ca  September 16, 2022 Press Release

In the spirit of innovation, the Board of Supervisors today set up a $2 million fund to kick-start transformational programs to end homelessness.

The fund is the latest in a series of moves that puts the County of San Mateo on the forefront of attempting to end one of California’s most vexing issues: moving unsheltered residents into services that lead to permanent housing.

“We are looking for bold and collaborative efforts,” said Don Horsley, president of the Board of Supervisors. “We set a goal of ending homelessness and we encourage everyone to contribute to that effort. This grant program is really intended to get people thinking and to get people involved in workable, doable solutions.”

Nonprofit and faith-based organizations, cities, towns and affiliated agencies that serve homeless residents in San Mateo County may apply under the “Working Together to End Homelessness Innovation Grant Program.” Grant amounts will vary, and eligible applicants must provide some type of match and meet certain requirements.

Teamwork – that is collaborations between cities, towns, nonprofits and other entities — is strongly encouraged.

“We know many of the organizations that serve our unsheltered residents have great ideas but not necessarily the means to put those ideas into action,” said Supervisor Warren Slocum. “Now, with this grant program, we are challenging those organizations to offer innovative and new approaches.”

The grant program builds upon the County’s current extensive efforts to end homelessness – that is, homelessness will be rare, brief and one-time. Recent efforts include purchasing five hotels to use as temporary and long-term housing, building a state-of-the-art Navigation Center, boosting the supply of affordable housing and funding an array of  services to assist the most vulnerable residents.

At the same time, the County is hosting a series of workshops leading to the Working Together to End Homelessness Summit on Oct. 28, 2022, where participants will help the County develop a “2023 Homelessness Action Plan.”

Innovating Grant Focus Areas
The County’s one-day homeless count held on Feb. 24, 2022, found 1,092 unsheltered residents. This includes 352 people living on the streets or in encampments, 616 people living in cars, vans, or RVs and 102 people residing at safe parking sites (areas set aside for individuals to spend the night in vehicles).

Applicants must develop a plan to addresses how to engage those living on streets or encampments or those living in vehicles with services or develop innovative ways to assist the homeless and formerly homeless with job training, work experience and other steps toward financial self-sufficiency.

Projects could be brand new ideas or those tested elsewhere but new to San Mateo County. Applicants can also pitch ideas that have worked at small scale in the county with the goal of expanding countywide.

The grant application evaluation criteria will include but not be limited to  the following:

  • The extent of the need for the proposed project in the target service area.
  • The experience and skills of the applicants in providing services to unsheltered residents.
  • Whether the proposal tests an innovative and/or replicable approach to assisting unsheltered residents.
  • The extent that the proposed project promotes equity.
  • Whether the budget is sufficient and appropriate for the proposed work and includes a match that reflects the scale of the project.


Detailed FAQs on the grant program will be posted at SMCendinghomlessness.org.

An informational session for potential applicants will be held on Sept. 22, 2022, via Zoom at 2 p.m.  The Zoom link will be included in the program FAQs.  Grant applications will be accepted from Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, through 5 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2022.

Grantees will be notified of awards during the last week of October and funds are expected to be distributed by mid-November.

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steve m
steve m
1 year ago

did anyone notice they never talk about drug addiction or mental health ?
the biggest big problem of a LOT of the homeless . some are veterans.
that is a tragedy. I do feel sorry for the working people living in cars
and RV’s . they should be first in line for some form of (affordable) housing .
the one’s out there that are let’s face it are unable to work. do to whatever reason
sorry but they need there hand forced into some kind of drug and or mental health
programs and stop the disaster liberalism.as recovered( functioning) alcoholic myself. some of them don’t want help. for me it took a liver transplant. so yes I understand these people. they need tough love or will continue to die on the streets. these people getting housed in hotels or where ever should be held accountable to staying clean and getting help and staying that way. NOT helping there addictions along like free needles they give out in SF. not the way to go about it. coddling does not work. I do agree I think they have no intention on really ending homelessness .

Timothy Rupp
Timothy Rupp
1 year ago
Reply to  steve m

California’s supreme court says it’s against one’s human rights to force them into mental or drug rehab facilities.

steve m
steve m
1 year ago
Reply to  Timothy Rupp

correct. if you want them to overdose and die on the street it’s a free country.
but the plan to fix the problem is not going to work IMPO. coddling addicts.
just like in SF give them needless. that is not humane. what about hiring
mental health / addiction specialist? some kind of work training or something
helpful. Jesus people really don’t care. not to put handcuffs on them .
how about strongly suggest? is that better ? . if they don’t want to get clean your right it is there human right. if you are OK with it that’s fine by me.
it just makes me sad. that could of been me . I am all about programs for
people that want the help. but there has to be a work requirement . and
drug/alcohol counseling to get/stay clean. to be a functioning part society.
if they fail to stay clean they can go back to the street. it’s there choice.
there has to be accountability for the housing / help. if you really want to help these people.

M Watson
M Watson
1 year ago

Isn’t this program in San Mateo County? Why don’t they use that money to continue this work instead of starting over again. Oh, that’s right – it’s free tax money to them.


M Watson
M Watson
1 year ago

The only ‘skin in the game’ is that of the tax payers

Officials have no intent on ‘ending homelessness’, it’s their cash cow and political mantra.

Cory Alan David
Cory Alan David
1 year ago

What great news! I am sure that all of our county’s more affluent communities like Hillsborough, Atherton, Woodside and Portola Valley will charge to the head of the line in dealing with this seemingly insurmountable human tragedy. We will no longer have to exclusively rely on dumping this problem on “low hanging fruit” lesser affluent communities like South San Francisco, Daly City, Pacifica and San Bruno. We are all in this together, and then I woke up.

M Watson
M Watson
1 year ago

It is said the ‘servant quarters’ are considered low income housing in these elite communities, and like Martha’s Vineyard neighbors, their social justice genuflecting falls hollow when it comes time to have ‘these’ people as neighbors.
Talk about NIMBY