Jelani House


The crisis of homelessness is uniquely urban.
At the intersection of housing markets,
poverty, economic growth, population health,
and other urban challenges, the issue of
homelessness is both deeply complex and
depressingly simple. Many share the value
that every person deserves a place to call
home, yet the path to ending homelessness
is unclear and contested. With a growing
number of people in our region experiencing
homelessness, Bayview Hunters Point Foundation
working to have a positive impact.


San Francisco County’s growing population of individuals experiencing homelessness requires San Francisco to leverage all of its resources to inform and implement workable solutions. To respond to this need, the Bayview Hunters Point Foundation and Harvard University scholars and community have joined forces to serving as a nexus for researchers and practitioners to exchange discoveries, experiences, and ideas. By connecting the efforts of faculty from across disciplines and campuses, the Initiative serving to amplify research findings and translate them to a broader community of state and local governments, nonprofit providers, philanthropies, and others dedicated to improving the lives of those experiencing homelessness. The Jelani House seeks to unite faculties from various universities from across the country to address homelessness through a research lens.

The urgent need to reduce the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in San Francisco County requires a new model of collaboration between researchers and policymakers. Jelani House harnesses the collective talent of the region’s top scholars from a range of disciplines, including housing and real estate, economics, behavioral and primary healthcare, social services, and social network theory, to conduct timely, actionable research that directly informs policymaking at all levels of government.

The launch of Jelani House builds upon the Bayview Hunters Point Foundation’s longstanding commitment to ending homelessness in San Francisco.

From economic concerns to mental health needs, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when addressing homelessness. We ask leaders from across all sectors to join together, and as a community, we need to be quick, nimble, and efficient to identify and implement effective solutions. The expertise represented in the Jelani House will be a great catalyst for the change that needs to happen countywide.

This collaboration between practitioners, policymakers, and the research community will ensure that policies and programs aimed at ending homelessness benefit from leveraging San Francisco’s research resources. In order to make effective policy and program decisions that positively impact our homeless neighbors, we must ensure that they are informed by research on what works in ending homelessness.

Jelani House is committed to collaboration across universities and Dr. Sharam Kohan, the Executive Director of leads the initiative. Jelani House engages in the broader San Francisco Bay Area community in homelessness research and provides expertise in data and policy analysis, as well as homelessness more broadly.

While 9,000 people experience homelessness on any given night in San Francisco County, there are another 15,000 severely rent-burdened households whose housing instability puts them at great risk of homelessness.

Jelani House Initiative harnesses the talents and resources of universities to create and share tools to help the practitioners and community in the fight against homelessness.