Tipping Point Community pledges $100 million to fight homelessness in SF

Daniel Lurie’s S.F.-based nonprofit organization Tipping Point Community has made big bets over the past 12 years in its quest to combat poverty.

But none ever reached the $100 million height Tipping Point pledged this week to address the problem of chronic homelessness in San Francisco.

Daniel Lurie
Daniel Lurie

It’s the largest local donation of its kind, and carries with it Tipping Point’s ambitious goal to cut the number of chronically homeless people in half over five years.

“My grandmother told me if you can save one life, it’s like you’re saving the whole world,” said CEO Lurie. “We want to save more than one life with this.”

In San Francisco, of the approximately 6,686 homeless people, 1,745  are chronically so, according to a 2015 count conducted by City Hall. Tipping Point says the number of people chronically homeless — defined by the organization as someone who has been on the street for more than a year and has a mental or physical disability — may be as high as 2,000.

Lurie is the son of Rabbi Brian Lurie, former CEO of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and former president of the New Israel Fund.

A hundred million dollars is a substantial amount of cash, but it’s not enough, Lurie said: “Money alone cannot solve this issue. We have to have a collective will, we have to have a belief that we can make a difference. It’s us and the community stepping up and taking ownership.”

Tipping Point spearheaded the Bay Area’s large-scale charity effort last year in tandem with the Super Bowl. That effort raised millions of dollars for various charities.

Lurie’s current effort on behalf of the homeless has already raised $60 million of the total amount pledged. The organization will distribute the funds to nonprofits, as well as to the city and county government agencies, sometimes working in partnership with those agencies.

Initiatives include creating new housing units, increasing funding to the S.F. Department of Public Health’s Medical Respite and Sobering Center, and funding two staff positions for two years at the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, according to a press release.

The organization plans to announce more programs “in the months ahead,” according to the release.

“These are nimble and flexible dollars,” Lurie said. “We can take risks and try new things. At the end of the day we’re trying to create programs that can be sustained by drawing down state and federal dollars.”

max cherney
Max A. Cherney

Max A. Cherney is a former J. staff writer.