HOPE SF is an ambitious cross-sector initiative to transform San Francisco’s most distressed public housing sites into vibrant and healthy communities.
It began with a study. In 2005, the Human Services Agency released an analysis of at-risk families known as the “Seven Street Corners Study.” The study came out of an effort to create a consolidated youth database with data from the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. When the data was merged and mapped, it revealed that most of these children lived within walking distance of just seven street corners in the city — street corners that overlapped with obsolete public housing sites where families were living geographically, socially, and economically cut off from San Francisco’s robust resources.
In response, Mayor Gavin Newsom set a bold vision of rebuilding dilapidated public housing developments into thriving mixed-income communities that integrated holistic family services, high quality schools, new businesses, public transportation, and green buildings. HOPE SF drew on more than 15 years of learning from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) HOPE VI housing revitalization program. However, unlike the HUD projects in which only a small percentage of residents returned to redeveloped housing sites, San Francisco committed to the principle that families would not be displaced.
In 2007, the mayor and Board of Supervisors secured $95 million in local bond funding, an amount that eclipsed the nationwide HOPE VI funding for that year, to launch HOPE SF. From the beginning, the initiative brought together expertise from the public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors, working together to improve the lives of public housing residents and break the cycle of poverty.