Human Services Agency: Homeless and Safety Net Services (7510P)

Program Outcome Statement

Coordinate the delivery of supportive safety net services through community partnerships to promote housing stability and food security for individuals, families, and communities.

Program Services

Through contracts with community partners, the Human Services Agency (Agency) coordinates the following:
  • Emergency safety net services such as information and referrals, food, rental, utility, and transportation assistance
  • Emergency shelter and transitional housing


The Homeless and Safety Net Services program administers contracts with community-based organizations. These collaborations maximize County and Federal funding to address the seasonal and distinct geographical needs of the County.
Since 1976, San Mateo County has partnered with community-based organizations, known as Core Service Agencies, to provide an array of emergency and support services to County residents struggling to meet their most basic needs, such as shelter, food and clothing. There are currently eight Core Service Agencies which work in close collaboration with the Agency to provide assistance to individuals and families to stabilize their living situations, provide crisis intervention, financial assistance, and referrals based on evaluation of needs and qualifications for assistance. In addition, the Agency contracts with providers to operate three year-round emergency shelters: Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco, Maple Street Shelter in Redwood City and, through Measure K funding, the WeHOPE Shelter in East Palo Alto.

Percent of Homeless Clients in Transitional Shelters Connected to Mainstream Services surpasses target

Annual Cost Per Client Receiving Safety Net Services is increasing

Percent of Food Assistance Requests Met by CORE Service Agencies meets target

Number of Sheltered and Unsheltered Residents in Biennial Homeless Census is decreasing

FY 2018-19 Mid-Year Story Behind Performance

Percent of Clients Residing in Homeless Transitional Shelter (HUD Funded) That Are Connected to Mainstream Services and Benefits

The percent of clients leaving transitional shelters that are connected to mainstream services and benefits is estimated at 87%, exceeding the target of 85%.

Cost per Client Receiving Safety Net Services

The cost per client is projected to be $572 for homeless and safety net services, which falls under the target of $600.

Percent of Clients Receiving Food Assistance from CORE Service Agencies

The percent of clients receiving food assistance in FY 2018-19 is estimated at 99% which meets the target.

Number of sheltered and unsheltered residents in biennial homeless census

On the morning of January 26, 2017, the Center on Homelessness coordinated the San Mateo County One Day Homeless Count. The 2017 count was conducted with approximately 350 volunteers, consisting of community-based providers, members of the public, and County staff, assisted by homeless guides. The 2017 count determined that there were 1,253 homeless people in San Mateo County on the night of the count, comprised of 637 unsheltered homeless people (living on streets, in cars, in RVs, in tents/encampments) and 616 sheltered homeless people (in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs). The results show a 16% decrease in the overall homeless count compared to 2015, with the largest decreases in the numbers of people living in the streets and in encampments.

The next One Day Homeless Count will be completed on January 31, 2019.

Future Priorities

  • Continue Implementation of the Strategic Plan to End Homelessness, including an emphasis that individuals exiting institutions are not discharged to homelessness
  • Capital improvement and capacity expansion for current shelter operations
  • Increase assessment of needs for homeless individuals living in vehicles
  • Evaluate Homeless Outreach Team and develop new strategies for homeless population based on point-in-time count data

Author: Selina Toy Lee,                         Contact Email:                                    Last Updated: 01-25-2019
Director of Collaborative Community Outcomes