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UCSF Receives $30 Million Gift to Research Homelessness

The University of California, San Francisco has received a $30 million gift to conduct research on identifying the root causes of homelessness, as well as how to prevent and end it.

The gift, which is largest-ever private donation to fund homelessness research, was made by Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff.

Margot Kushel, the director of the university’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, will lead the initiative. Furthermore, it will bring together experts from various fields to conduct research on homelessness and housing issues, identify evidence-based solutions, and train the next generation of homelessness researchers.

“There is no medicine as powerful as housing. But the problem is complex,” Kushel said. “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.”

The resulting research will be made easily accessible for policy makers and community leaders across the country who are seeking solutions to end homelessness in their own neighborhoods.

“We have designed this initiative to have real-world impact, first in San Francisco, then statewide and, ultimately we hope, on a national scale,” Joshua Bamberger,  initiative associate director, said.

Following the latest donation, the Benioffs will have pledged $66 million total towards preventing and ending homelessness in San Francisco.

In the past they pledged $6.1 million to renovate the Bristol Hotel to add 58 units of housing in San Francisco, $11.5 million to Hamilton Families’ Heading Home Campaign, and $2 million to the “Yes on C” campaign to pass Proposition C in San Francisco, which will collect up to $300 million in new tax revenues to address homelessness.

“The world needs a North Star for truth on homelessness,” Marc Benioff said. “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.”

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