Housing and Urban Health
Direct Access to Housing (DAH)
Established by the San Francisco Department of Public Health – Housing and Urban Health Section (SFDPH-HUH) in 1998, Direct Access to Housing (DAH) is a permanent supportive housing program targeting low-income San Francisco residents who are homeless and have special needs. A “low threshold” program that accepts adults into permanent housing directly from the streets, shelters, hospitals and long-term care facilities, DAH strives to help tenants stabilize and improve their health outcomes despite co-occurring mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse problems, and/or chronic medical conditions. In addition to being an effective way to end homelessness, this supportive housing model is also fiscally prudent as it leads to cost savings by reducing overutilization of emergency services. Unique in its on-site provision of wrap-around support services, DAH currently houses over 1,500 formerly homeless people across 35 sites. By 2014, DAH will expand to house 138 additional tenants at 2 new housing sites for a total of 1725 at 37 buildings.
DAH housing takes many forms including:
- Master leased single room occupancy (SRO) hotels. Master leasing allows SFDPH-HUH to engage in long-term leases with building owners who retain responsibility only for large capital improvements after lease-signing; building owners often renovate residential and common areas prior to lease signing as well. Master leasing has allowed SFDPH-HUH to bring large numbers of housing units online rapidly.
- Units in new capital developments. An increasing number of DAH units fit this model. Most new capital units take the form of private apartments that afford tenants access to private bathrooms and cooking facilities. Depending on the site, the DAH program refers clients to some or all units in the buildings.
- Set-aside DAH units in larger residential buildings owned by nonprofit providers. These units may be in renovated single room occupancy (SRO) buildings or newly developed sites.
- Units in a licensed residential care facility. Only one DAH site fits into this category, and tenants share rooms at this facility.
Regardless of the setting, most tenants live independently in their own units, though they have access to on-site support services, property management, and 24-hour desk clerks if needed.
For more information about supportive housing, visit our resources page.
Go here to view the DAH Housing Portfolio.