BART spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, but only helped one homeless person

An audit has found that BART spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a homeless outreach program, which resulted in one confirmed homeless person receiving its services, the Mercury News first reported.

Inspector General Harriet Richardson's report examined BART's connection to a two-year, $350,000 program run by the Salvation Army.
It was meant to fund homeless outreach teams at San Francisco's two BART stations on Mission Street and help people with mental health and drug addiction issues.

The Salvation Army program was approved in two contracts from July 2020 through July 2022. 

During the 24-month period, the team reported thousands of contacts with people but could only confirm one person using the residential treatment services, the Mercury News reported. 

Meanwhile, BART saw a 21% year-over-year increase in unhoused people at its San Francisco stations in the first quarter of 2022. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency provided half the funds for the BART-awarded contract.

A BART spokesman told the Mercury News that the agency differed with the Salvation Army’s requirement that participants in the program take a pledge of total sobriety. The agency’s new Homeless Action Plan dropped the pledge and was designed for more accountability.