The Salesforce CEO is funding a five-year initiative along with his wife. They hope to find the root cause to homelessness and a solution to it.
A new research initiative has been started at UC San Francisco thanks to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne. The research aims at discovering the root causes of homelessness and ways in which it could be put to an end. The couple has donated $30 million to the five-year initiative. The University of California, San Francisco is going to focus on finding new approaches to housing and services for people who are forced to live on the streets due to past circumstances. The University will also be creating a centralized library of existing research on the subject in order to make it easier for new research. “The world needs a North Star for truth on homelessness,” Benioff, a San Francisco native, said in a statement as reported by Washington Post. “The UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative will be that North Star, providing the latest research, data and evidence-based solutions to ensure we’re investing in programs that will help solve the homelessness crisis.”
The San Francisco Bay area has been ranked as one of the worst places in the country for homelessness. The problem of homelessness is widespread and the conditions are said to be pathetic. In October, the United Nations report deemed the crisis as a "human rights violation". According to a recent report from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, there are around 28,000 people in just the San Francisco Bay Area that experience homelessness. The report further suggests that fixing the problem would cost up to $12.7 billion!
San Francisco billionaire Marc Benioff gives $30 million to study homelessness https://t.co/dp1tmVS6BP— KTLA (@KTLA) May 1, 2019
This issue in San Francisco is aggravated due to income inequality and extremely high housing cost. A June report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that a family of four who are living off $117,400 a year would be classified as a low-income family. The report also said that a single adult whose annual salary is $82,000 would also fall in the same category. One of the main causes of this is the tech companies that often flood the areas with highly paid workers, in turn, increases the cost of living.
Benioff's cloud software company Salesforce is the largest employer in the city and has become a very prominent voice on the issue. Last year, he promoted Proposition C, a local ballot measure that would tax large companies based in San Francisco and use those funds to help combat homelessness. Benioff even went to war with other billionaires last year regarding the measure, Last year, he promoted Proposition C, a local ballot measure that would tax large companies based in San Francisco and use those funds to help combat homeless.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, one of the main aims of the research funded by Benioff is to help guide San Francisco in how to use the $300 million generated by Proposition C, if it is approved. The research is said to be supervised by Margot Kushel, a professor of medicine at UCSF and director of its Center for Vulnerable Populations. “We know a lot about how to end homelessness, but that knowledge doesn’t always reach policymakers and is often not properly targeted,” she said in a news release. “We have far more to learn about designing the most effective ways to prevent and end homelessness.”
EXCLUSIVE: San Francisco billionaire Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne are giving UC San Francisco $30 million to create a first-of-its-kind program to study the most effective ways to end homelessness. https://t.co/uLMl17GzSF— KCBS 106.9 FM/740 AM (@KCBSRadio) May 1, 2019
This donation towards the research was a gift from the Benioffs to the University research team. This gift is the largest private donation for research on homelessness ever. The couple has pledged to donate $66 million in total, over the course of the next five years. The money will all be spent on tackling the issue of homelessness in San Francisco. The research can then be used by other cities in the country that face similar issues. More than $6 million will be given for the renovation of the Bristol Hotel in order to create new units of housing for formerly homeless people. $11.5 million will also be donated to the Hamilton Families’ Heading Home Campaign.
"There is no medicine as powerful as housing. But the problem is complex," Kushel said in a statement. "We know a lot about how to end homelessness, but that knowledge doesn't always reach policymakers and is often not properly targeted. We have far more to learn about designing the most effective ways to prevent and end homelessness."
In Salt Lake City we did this CRAZY thing. We built houses for them. We didn't have developers build "affordable housing" or as we call them unaffordable lofts & flats that sit empty.— Timothy Halvorson (@UnknChalky) May 1, 2019
Why not use that $$ to actually set up non profits to help feed, clothe, medical and most importantly help get them jobs so they can support themselves.— justmenow50 (@Bayley4everat20) May 1, 2019
It's gone beyond drugs and mental illness and many are homeless because they couldn't pay for medical bills Others are paid minimal wages and simply can't afford a roof over their heads or have been conned into mortgages and debt they couldnt afford in the first place— Mary-Ann de Kort (@matroked) May 2, 2019