Homeless support programme at public libraries
This programme addresses difficult of providing social services to homeless people in the city.
San Francisco has a high proportion of homeless people. In a population of nearly 900,000 people, more than 7,000 are considered homeless. Homeless people have issues with access to physical and mental health, A substantial proportion of the homeless are military veterans. The lack of a permanent address makes it difficult to reach them with information and social services.
Public libraries in the city are often a place for shelter and refuge during the day for homeless people - for San Francisco's public library, about 15% of 5000 visitors are homeless . The city places a social worker in a public library, who conducts outreach to any homeless people with information about temporary shelters, resources to access subsidised housing, healthcare, employment and livelihood support.
Since the programme began, 150 formerly homeless library patrons have received permanent housing. Another 800 have benefitted from other social services, based on outreach and information provided by social workers in the library.