San Francisco’s Care Not Cash program for the homeless was one of the most innovative programs introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom. Now, four years after it began, a city audit indicates the program has been successful. According to a story in the S.F. Chronicle, the number of homeless people in the city receiving cash payments has dropped from 2,632 to 642. Instead of cash the recipients now receive housing and services. There is still controversy, of course, about whether the money the city now spends on housing provides as much help as the previous cash payments did, and the question of whether all homeless people in the city can be helped by housing and services is still open. Many of the homeless people on our streets have multiple problems and require intensive services which are not easy to provide. It appears that Care Not Cash has been a step in the right direction, but concerned citizens will still have to be watchful.
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