Charles and Helen Schwab Invest $65M in Groundbreaking Homelessness Solutions in SF
Lead Gift in Tipping Point’s $100 Million Chronic Homelessness Effort Contributes to First Building, On Track to Finish Faster and More Cost-Effectively; Second and Third Projects Underway, Adding over 500 Units to City’s Stock of Supportive Housing
SAN FRANCISCO—October 22, 2020—Today, Tipping Point Community, a non-profit that advances promising poverty-fighting solutions in the Bay Area, announced that a $65 million gift from Charles and Helen Schwab has led to the development of a new 145-unit building for people experiencing homelessness and will support the construction and renovation of more housing in the future. The first modular units for the building at 833 Bryant Street were delivered on-site this week, and the building is scheduled to open in fall 2021.
The building is on track to significantly reduce the typical time and cost for building permanent supportive housing in the Bay Area, which can take up to six years and can cost upward of $600,000 per unit. This reduces the cost by over 30 percent and cuts the construction time in half. These savings are being driven by the use of philanthropy to operate like an all-cash developer and by utilizing modular construction through a partnership with the Bay Area–based company Factory_OS. “Helen and I are inspired by Tipping Point’s Chronic Homelessness Initiative because they are creating innovative new solutions. We must respond to the homeless crisis with strategies that fundamentally change the equation,” said Charles Schwab.
The philanthropic investment has allowed Tipping Point and its partner, the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), to complete the project without any upfront public funding. “The impact of Chuck and Helen’s investment goes far beyond the initial 145 units,” said Daniel Lurie, Board Chair of Tipping Point. “Not only have we successfully tested a new approach to construction, but we are now able to extract philanthropic dollars to reinvest in more housing,” said Lurie.
Rebecca Foster, CEO of HAF, commented, “The HAF is proud to be partnering with Tipping Point Community and Chuck and Helen Schwab on this important development. Many thanks also to the City of San Francisco, which is ensuring permanent affordability of the project through a long-term lease of the apartments. The City’s lease agreement also allows us to pull invested funds out of 833 Bryant and reinvest them in future supportive housing projects.”
The HAF is already working on reinvesting the Schwabs’ philanthropic contribution to Tipping Point, supporting the City and Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco to convert two hotels in Lower Nob Hill into permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. The purchases would leverage awards of grant funding from California’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s Homekey program as well as additional City financing. Together, the two Homekey projects and the completion of the 833 Bryant development would add over 500 units to the City’s stock of supportive housing.
Tipping Point launched its $100 million Chronic Homelessness Initiative (CHI) in 2017 with a number of philanthropic gifts, including the contribution from the Schwab Family. The building at 833 Bryant Street is emblematic of Tipping Point’s CHI strategy to use philanthropic dollars to kick-start new solutions and leverage government funding for long-term program sustainability. “To change the state of poverty in our region, we need bold commitments and philanthropic leaders who are willing to take risks. The Schwabs’ philanthropic approach has enabled us to think differently and has the potential to not only change how we fight poverty but also the role of philanthropy in solving our community’s greatest challenges,” said Sam Cobbs, CEO of Tipping Point.
The Schwabs’ investment will also fund programs created by the CHI, such as the Flexible Subsidy Housing Pool, which launched in July, and acquires housing units from the private market and turns them into supportive housing. People currently experiencing homelessness move into these units and are provided rental subsidies using a flexible pool of funds. Tenants also receive wraparound supportive services.
“Building new housing is a critical part of changing the system to serve our homeless community, but it’s not the only part,” said Chris Block, Director of the CHI at Tipping Point. “With creative financing models for permanent supportive housing, converting existing housing stock, and prioritizing those who need the most support, we’ll be able to address this challenge head-on.”
Mercy Housing is the developer of the building at 833 Bryant Street, which was designed by David Baker Architects using modular units from Factory_OS and is being constructed by Cahill Construction. Episcopal Community Services will be the non-profit provider operating the building once it is open. Visit www.tippingpoint.org to learn more about the 833 Bryant Street project.
About Tipping Point Community
Tipping Point’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty for people in the Bay Area who don’t have the resources to meet their basic needs. Since 2005, Tipping Point has invested more than $300 million for housing, early childhood, education, and employment solutions in the region. Our board covers 100% of our operating costs, so every dollar donated goes where it’s needed most. Last year, our grantees provided life-changing services to more than 500,000 of our neighbors across the Bay Area. Visit us at www.tippingpoint.org.
About the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund
The San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund is committed to the preservation and expansion of quality affordable housing for economically disadvantaged individuals and households. An innovative non-profit public-private partnership, HAF works with the City of San Francisco, local foundations, private lending institutions, and corporations to provide powerful new financing tools to ensure that San Francisco remains vibrant, equitable, and inclusive for all. Visit us at www.sfhaf.org.