There are an estimated 10,000 to 16,000 people who are homeless in San Francisco. Of these, the vast majority are eligible for at least one of the federal or local assistance programs. These programs are frequently the last available means of keeping people from falling through the ever-widening holes in society's safety net. Unfortunately, the complex maze of applications and confusing eligibility requirements make it nearly impossible for many of those most in need to obtain benefits.

GAAP provides free counseling to more than 2,000 individuals each month. Our clients have experienced difficulties obtaining the government benefits to which they are entitled. These benefits include General Assistance, a county supported program, and federal programs such as Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability.

GAAP advocates help people apply for and receive General Assistance (GA), Food Stamps and, when appropriate, Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Advocates for GA and Food Stamps recipients help clients resolve disputes with social service caseworkers and represent at administrative hearings those clients whose benefits have been denied or discontinued.

SSI is a federal public benefit available to indigent disabled individuals whose mental or physical impairments are so severe that they are unable to work and support themselves. The GAAP SSI Program represents people during their SSI applications and appeals process.

All of GAAP's SSI clients are homeless or marginally housed. The monthly SSI grant is significantly larger than that of any other public benefit available to a needy individual, and it entitles the recipient to other valuable benefits like Medi-Cal insurance. SSI, therefore, provides a real opportunity to permanently exit life on the streets.

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