Social Resources & Homelessness Action Plan

BART’s focused approach to addressing the homelessness crisis

It is our job to help ensure the safety, security, comfort and convenience of all those who use BART.

The national homelessness crisis can be visible in BART stations and on trains as unhoused people use BART for shelter.  Increasing rates of homelessness and related quality-of-life issues on BART present us with unique challenges as a transit system, and highlight a pressing need for action and understanding from us, our riders, and our partner agencies in the communities we serve.     

All riders are expected to pay the fare and follow our Passenger Code of Conduct adopted by our Board of Directors to ensure that any one person doesn’t adversely affect others using or operating the system.  The Passenger Code of Conduct is based on common courtesy, and most all violations of the Passenger Code of Conduct are also a criminal violation.

In 2020, BART spent $16 million to address Quality of Life issues in the system. This includes homelessness and encampment response, extra cleaning requirements, and increased safety and security measures. 

BART Strategic Homelessness Action Plan

In late 2020, BART began the process of developing a Strategic Homelessness Action Plan. The BART Board of Directors was given a presentation on February 26, 2021 about these efforts.

Intent of the Plan
• Develop Strategic Document + Action Items
• Summarize current efforts, identify and prioritize new initiatives for delivery
• Address homelessness, cleanliness, substance abuse, mental health, housing, etc. using Customer Satisfaction Survey results & other data points
• Communicate to and coordinate with policymakers, decision-makers, social service partners and stakeholders (riders, employees)
• Secure resources and funding

Top six action items
1. Regularly engage and advocate at all levels of government
2. Develop public/private partnerships
3. Create statewide transit advocacy coalition
4. Integrate and coordinate with similar BART priorities progressive policing & “Be The Change” recommendations (see stakeholder engagement info below) TOD Work Plan, etc.
5. Develop performance measures, and collect and analyze data
6. Continue to follow & incorporate relevant best practices from all over

BART has created a new Senior Manager of Social Services Partnerships position as part of the agency’s efforts to increase resources to help address homelessness within the system and connect people to resources. The Senior Manager of Social Services Partnerships will focus on designing, implementing and overseeing programs to address homelessness and related issues within the BART system. The position will serve as the top advisor for the General Manager and the Board of Directors on matters related to homelessness and the health and social welfare of BART riders.

BART’s Senior Manager of Social Services Partnerships will work directly with BART’s Supervisors of Crisis Intervention, who are responsible for providing outreach regarding services to the unsheltered population in the BART system with housing and/or mental health issues. The senior manager will also work closely with the BART Police Department to ensure all programs are in alignment with the Progressive Policing policies.

The creation of the Senior Manager of Social Services Partnerships position is one of many new initiatives being implemented to bolster BART’s progressive policing efforts and finding new solutions that don’t rely on armed police. The action plan also calls for BART to hire 20 crisis intervention specialists beginning later this year and to continue the Transit Ambassador Program. The plan is based on extensive stakeholder engagement that included public meetings in all nine BART districts.

Stakeholder Engagement for Advancing Progressive Policing 

On June 25, 2020 the BART Board of Directors approved the following amendment to the FY21 budget resolution:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT through the 2020-2021 budget, the District commits to undertake a rigorous stakeholder process on new approaches that emphasize responding to homelessness, behavioral health and substance use without relying on armed police.  This effort answers public calls to dramatically change how BART addresses these societal problems in our system.  The Board and the General Manager will jointly lead this effort to develop recommendations for staffing and funding services that do not require sworn personnel.

On January 14, 2021 the Board was presented with the results of the stakeholder outreach process lead by "Be The Change", recommendations and BART's response.

The action plan calls for the implementation of crisis intervention teams, the development of a districtwide homelessness action plan, and a redeployment strategy to place more officers onboard trains. The plan is based on extensive stakeholder engagement that took place in 2020 and included public meetings in all nine BART districts.

View the final report.
View the presentation given to the Board of Directors that includes BART's responses to the recommendations.

Survey results:

External Stakeholders
Internal Stakeholders
Open Survey on
Random Sample

 We are working on a variety of measures to tackle these issues and just as important help those in need.

Connect People to Resources

Homeless Outreach Teams

BART currently has homeless outreach teams in San Francisco and Contra Costa County. 

San Francisco

BART is helping to fund a partnership between BART, MUNI and the City of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness to provide two full-time Homelessness Outreach Team (HOT) employees focusing on Embarcadero, Montogomery, Powell and Civic Center stations.  This team began operations mid-November 2017. They will help move people off our concourse floors and into shelters, while also connecting them to treatment and more permanent resources.  They work four days a week. 

The BART-dedicated San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team expanded to Mission Stations in April 2019 to include 16th and Mission St. and the 24th and Mission St. Stations.  This team engages with the immediate areas near the BART stations, including individuals from SRO’s or single-room-occupancy housing in the area, as well as programs from churches, social services and other programs that provide support to those experiencing homelessness and others struggling with mental health and addiction challenges who end up at stations.

2020 SF Hot Teams Data & Metrics (March-November 2020, modified due to COVID-19)

Total Outreach attempts: 2,809
Total accepted services: 2,345
Total declined services: 464
Total medical service referral: 1,031
Total distribution of masks, kits, hand sanitizer, water, food: 2,238

Contra Costa County

An outreach program that involves two full-time C.O.R.E. employees dedicated to Contra Costa County launched on January 1, 2019.  C.O.R.E. stands for Coordinated Outreach, Referral, & Engagement and their role will be to engage unhoused individuals seeking refuge in the BART stations and on board trains or under our aerial tracks and connect them with available services and shelters in this county. 

2020 Core Team Data & Metrics (Jan.-Dec. 2020)

Total contacts made: 714
CARE center coordination: 1,555
Healthcare coordination: 27
Shelter bed coordination: 21
Warming Center coordination: 570

Clean Bathrooms 

BART helps fund the San Francisco Public Works' Pit Stop Program provides clean and safe public toilets, as well as used-needle receptacles and dog waste stations, in the City's most impacted neighborhoods. The restroom units have running water, soap and hand towels, and are maintained by on site attendants to a high standard. There are currently Pit Stop bathrooms  above four BART stations (Powell St. Station, Civic Center Station, 16th and Mission St. Station and 24th and Mission St. Station).

2020 Pit Stops Count

Powell: 2,078
16th Street: 2,679
24th Street: 7,809

Pit Stop

Elevator Attendants

The Elevator Attendant Program was launched on April 30, 2018 and was renewed in FY19 to address sanitation and safety and security issues in the BART station elevators. Attendants are in the street and platform elevators at Civic Center, Powell St., Montgomery and Embarcadero stations during BART operating hours. This program has virtually eliminated inappropriate behavior in the elevators.  The attendants greet customers, operate the elevator, collect data on the number of users and their demographics and deter inappropriate behavior in the elevator. The program has been very popular with BART customers, particularly those dependent on the elevators.

In July 2019 the Board of Directors approved a contract to continue working with Urban Alchemy, formerly Hunters Point Family, to expand this successful program to Embarcadero and Montgomery starting in fall 2019.

2020 Elevator Attendants Data & Metrics

Elevator users: 39,243
Disabled users: 3,424
People who turned away when they saw there was an attendant: 158
Needles left in the elevator: 1
Human waste left in elevator: 1

Fare Evasion Prevention

Fare evasion costs BART between an estimated $15 million and $25 million each year. This is lost revenue that cannot be reinvested into improvements to the system for all riders. We are stepping up our efforts to prevent fare evasion through infrastructure changes such as installing higher barriers and bringing elevators into the paid area.  Learn more about our fare evasion prevention program.

The Board has also approved a proof of payment ordinance. Proof of payment began January 1, 2018 with a one month warning period for first time violations. Unarmed Community Service Officers do the fare inspections.  They have received training, particularly on deescalation and on using the fare checking devices.  Inspections will progress from one person to the next without skipping anyone. All interactions will be recorded with body worn cameras.

Welfare Checks

Call BART Police at 510-464-700 or download and use the BARTwatch app if you’re concerned that someone is unwell or in need of a welfare check. We will take the report submitted through your phone and dispatch an officer or team member to check on the person. Examples of this can include people who are visibly intoxicated, people who have soiled themselves, or people experiencing a mental health crisis.  Please keep in mind, someone sleeping on a train who appears to be homeless does not violate any laws and dispatch will need more clarifying information to deploy an officer and hold a train.

Notify a Station Agent or BART employee if you are concerned about a patron’s behavior in a station.

Salvation Army Partnership

Partnering with the Salvation Army to connect people in downtown San Francisco with services. Following a successful joint outreach event in May of 2018, BART and the Salvation Army expanded their efforts to address quality of life issues in and around downtown San Francisco’s Civic Center Station. The expansion involves Salvation Army staff and volunteers conducting weekly outreach events at the station each Wednesday afternoon beginning June 13th to link people with resources. The Salvation Army regularly does work in this area, but May 17, 2018 was the first time the non-profit coordinated with BART to also go into the Civic Center station to encourage people to come up to UN Plaza to receive food, socks, hygiene kits and information on available resources. The weekly effort will take place between 1 pm and 3 pm each Wednesday.

On December 3, 2019, BART announced it will team with the Salvation Army during its seasonal Red Kettle Campaign with a new “Partners for Change” initiative inside BART stations systemwide.

Report Biohazards

Report a biohazard that needs to be cleaned up using the official BART app or at and crews will be deployed to clean it up.

You can also notify your Train Operator using the intercom on each end of every BART car if there is car cleanliness issue that needs to be urgently addressed. 

Resources for the Unhoused

Bay Area Wide:

The United Way’s 211 service connects residents in Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Napa, Solano and Santa Clara counties with health and human service programs in their local community.  Simply dial 2-1-1 or visit to receive 24/7, free and confidential assistance in multiple languages. 

Alameda County: 

  • The Alameda County Social Services Agency website offers a one-stop-shop for families and single adults who are unsheltered or at-risk of becoming unsheltered in the county.  The Agency contracts with local county homeless shelter providers and helps people in need of financial assistance.  
  • Those who are having a housing crisis or in need of other support in Alameda or Contra Costa counties can dial 2-1-1, which is a toll free phone number that provides free and confidential information and referrals on housing, health and social services.
  • The county’s Housing & Community Development Department offers Rapid Re-Housing programs, move-in assistance, short-term rental subsidies and connections to support services to quickly transition unsheltered households to a permanent solution.

Contra Costa County:

There are multiple ways to access homeless services in Contra Costa County:

  • CALL: 211 or text 898211 for 24/7 free, confidential assistance. Callers will be matched and referred to appropriate programs.
  • CORE: The Coordinated Outreach Referral, Engagement (C.O.R.E.) program works to engage and stabilize unhoused individuals living outside through consistent outreach to facilitate and/or deliver health and basic need services and secure permanent housing. To notify a C.O.R.E. team about an unhoused individual or family, please call 211. Please note that C.O.R.E. teams are not designed for crisis response. For medical or other emergencies involving homeless individuals, please call 911.
  • CARE: The following CARE Centers offer a range of services including, showers, food, laundry, benefits enrollment, health care, mental health, substance abuse and housing search assistance.

San Pablo:


Walnut Creek:

Contra Costa offers "Health Care for the Homeless" which is a multi-disciplinary bilingual team of medical, dental, behavioral health, social support and administrative professionals. Health Care for the Homeless is outfitted with well-equipped medical vans that visit various shelters and community centers through Contra Costa County on a weekly basis. Our services are available to individuals who meet the Homeless Criteria. For more information and the mobile clinic schedule call (925) 608-5300 or visit

City and County of San Francisco:  

  • The newly formed Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing brings together housing and homeless services throughout the City.  Those in a housing crisis can dial 3-1-1 and reserve emergency housing for up to 90 days. Assistance is available both in English and Spanish. The Department also offers veteran assistance, long term housing programs, hygiene supplies, clothing, crisis intervention, medical and mental health care and drug prevention programs.
  • The San Francisco Homeless Resource website offers a comprehensive directory of services for the homeless. It is a collaborative website for homeless advocates, providers, government and others in San Francisco.

San Mateo County:

  • The county’s Human Services Agency offers emergency safety net assistance.  There are eight Core Service Agencies within the county that work with the agency to provide individuals and families with basic emergency and support services to stabilize their living situations.
  • The Homeless Shelter Directory lists more than 3700 shelter and social services in San Mateo County and across America.
  • The Center on Homelessness coordinates homeless services throughout the county. The Center sets up homeless outreach teams, administers the motel voucher program and connects people with homeless shelters.