"There is no medicine as powerful as housing."

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Margot Kushel, MD

Welcome to the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. At UCSF BHHI, we conduct research and translate evidence for the public and policymakers with the goal of reducing and ending homelessness.

As a UCSF medical resident working at San Francisco General Hospital in the 1990s, I saw how homelessness devastates people’s health. While I worked to address the health needs caused by homelessness, I recognized that addressing the acute health needs of my patients was important, but not enough. I realized we needed to address the underlying causes of harm. 

I changed the direction of my career to focus on ending homelessness. It had become clear to me that there is no medicine as powerful as housing. Nothing we can do will as quickly and effectively improve a person’s health and their ability to thrive more than preventing or ending their homelessness. 

As the Director of UCSF BHHI, I work with a multidisciplinary team of faculty, post-doctoral scholars, students, and staff. We use a strategic science approach—in which we work with partners to answer the questions they need to answer to develop practices, programs, and policies to prevent and end homelessness. We produce research on the drivers, precipitants, and consequences of homelessness and disseminate that work as quickly and thoroughly as we can. We have strong partnerships with local, state, and federal policymakers; community organizations; and our advisory boards that center people with lived expertise of homelessness.

The solution to homelessness is housing. We know how to house even those with the greatest challenges. Yet, we need the collective will to do it.

At UCSF BHHI, we care about preventing and ending homelessness. We are committed to rigorous evidence-based research that unearths truths about the homeless experience, dispels myths, and highlights the humanitarian crisis underlying homelessness.

Margot Kushel, MD
Professor of Medicine
Chief | UCSF Division of Health Equity and Society
Director | UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations
Director | UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative

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