Interim supportive housing is a stop-over between the streets and permanent housing.

A place where people can get out of survival mode, take a breath, and have the mental and emotional capacity to focus on stabilizing and rebuilding their lives.

Permanent Housing is expensive and takes many years to build
We have enormous budgets for homelessness, but it all goes towards permanent supportive housing.

While we desperately need more permanent housing, both supportive and affordable, a permanent-only focus will never succeed in bringing everyone indoors.

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Did You Know ?

The average cost to build a single new unit of PSH is $650,000 in California, and as high as $1.1 million in our biggest cities, where it is needed the most.

Many people will not accept placement in group “congregate” shelter, especially those who have experienced trauma

People are worried about their safety and their belongings, and many shelters will not accept pets, nor accommodate couples.

Outreach workers report that when they offer a traditional shelter bed to people living in encampments, they are lucky if they can get 1 out of 10 people to accept.  So far no one has turned down a private room at DignityMoves!

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When asked why they refuse shelter, over 80% say they want their own space.

As a result, over 72% of people experiencing homelessness in California are literally unsheltered, sleeping in places not meant for human habitation

When people first lose their homes, the vast majority do not yet have a debilitating mental health or substance abuse problem.

Yet the trauma of surviving on the streets takes a significant toll. The fears, stress, and temptations create a slippery slope that is difficult to recover from.  If people have a safe place where they are willing to go, their Cortisol levels can decrease and they can be in a mental and emotional state to begin thinking forward.

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Did You Know ?

The average wait time for PSH in San Francisco is 14 years?

People can’t possibly be expected to rebuild their lives while surviving on the streets

Imagine trying to find a new job without access to a shower, internet, or even a place to plug in a cell phone.

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Did You Know ?

When the human brain is in “fight or flight” mode, basic survival mechanisms redirect our brains away from higher functionality.

Delivering outreach services to people still living on the streets has very low return on investment.

Once people have stabilized in interim supportive housing, the vast majority of them will be able to find their own paths out of homelessness

Cost of Homelessness to our community
PSH is government-funded permanent housing for people who are unable to live self-sufficiently.

With interim supportive housing we are helping people help themselves, by giving them a chance to rebuild their lives without lifetime government support.

While many people will indeed require PSH, we shouldn’t assume that anyone who becomes homeless will need government-supported housing the rest of their lives.

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When people transition straight from the streets into PSH, a high percentage of them fail because they are not prepared for independent living.

The costs to our communities of keeping people on the streets far outweighs the investment in interim housing.

–Santa Clara County estimates it costs the community an average of $83k/year per person who is chronically homeless.

–Those costs are borne disproportionately by the medical system.  That’s why hospitals like Dignity Health are so supportive of DignityMoves.

Data shows that people can and do “self-resolve” if given the chance. We should start with that assumption. They need safety, a shower, internet access, and some help.  After languishing on the streets for years, it is much more likely a person will require government-funded housing for the rest of their lives.

Interim vs. Permanent Housing– A false choice

A debate has arisen recently about the role of interim housing.  Many of the experts in the field of homelessness believe that any money we spend on anything other than permanent housing is a waste of resources.  We respectfully disagree.

If we provide dignified interim options that are compelling enough for people to accept placement, they can receive the critical supportive services they need and have a higher probability of returning to self-sufficiency or finding other exits out of homelessness.

Many will still need PSH, and we must stay focused on building more.  But with interim housing as an anchor component of the system, we will need far less PSH in the long run than we’ll need on this current path.

Supportive Services


Interim Supportive Housing is a critical opportunity to connect people with medical and mental healthcare, case managers, job assistance, and many other services. When people have a safe place, they are much more likely to find positive paths forward.


  • With internet access, a shower, and positive coaching many can find or return to jobs.
  • When they enroll in disability and other applicable programs, apply for vouchers, and obtain proper identification many are equipped to find apartments, potentially relocating to a less expensive region.
  • Many are often emotionally ready to set aside shame, make apologies, and reunite with family.
  • Without the fears and trauma of surviving on the streets, many are willing to quit using the drugs they felt they needed in order to survive.
  • A preventative check-up with a doctor can reconnect them with care and responsibility for the health of their body.
  • Those with mental illness are in a much calmer emotional and mental condition to receive therapy effectively.
  • Those who do need Permanent Supportive Housing are better prepared for that transition.

With a permanent-only system, for the $800,000 to build one unit of PSH we could build 16 interim housing units.  One person gets a studio apartment while 15 others are dying on the streets.

Budgets are finite. If we spend 90% on beautiful buildings, that leaves 10% for supportive services. Granite countertops don’t solve core problems.  DignityMoves wants to shift that ratio.

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