Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is putting up $6.1 million to turn a hotel into a halfway house for San Francisco's homeless population

Marc Benioff 2014Justin Sullivan/Getty

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is putting $6.1 million into a project to transform a closed-down San Francisco hotel into halfway housing for the homeless, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
  • The housing renovation project is a partnership between Benioff, San Francisco mayor London Breed, and local homeless advocacy group Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
  • Benioff has been an outspoken proponent of a tax on tech companies, called Proposition C, that would be used to benefit San Francisco's homeless population. The measure passed during midterm election voting in November.

Now that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has successfully tackled a tax on major companies to benefit San Francisco's homeless population, the tech executive has turned his attention to building halfway housing for the homeless with a multi-million-dollar donation.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Benioff is contributing $6.1 million to a project that would turn a run-down hotel - whose rich, sordid history led to its closure years ago - into halfway housing for the homeless that's set to open in February.

Read more: Billionaire Marc Benioff celebrates after San Francisco votes for new tax that will take millions from big tech firms to solve the city's homelessness crisis

Benioff confirmed the news in a series of tweets Thursday morning, and said an official announcement on the project would be coming later in the day.

"Every homeless person needs a home," Benioff said on Twitter.

'When you give a person a home, everything gets better'

The project to refurbish the Bristol Hotel is a partnership between Benioff, San Francisco mayor London Breed, and a local homeless advocacy organization. The nonprofit Tenderloin Housing Clinic will run the hosing complex - with its executive director as the acting landlord - once it opens, according to the Chronicle.

The refurbished Bristol Hotel will function as a transitional living facility, which is designed to help its tenants become financially independent moving forward. The complex will feature 58 rooms at a low rent ($500 to $600 a month) that's subsidized with help from Benioff's donation, the Chronicle reports.

With only so many rooms available, residents will be chosen, although the Chronicle doesn't say exactly how that selection process will proceed. Prospective tenants are required to have spent at least three years inside another San Francisco supportive housing complex, and made progress toward maintaining life after homelessness.

"When you give a person a home, everything gets better," Benioff told the Chronicle. "It's the fundamental catalyst to improving a person's livelihood."

Bristol hotel, October 2017Location of the closed Bristol Hotel in October 2017.Google Maps

An outspoken advocate

Benioff has been an outspoken advocate for San Francisco's homeless population, which stood at around 7,500 people according to the city's latest official count from 2017. Benioff and his wife, as well as Salesforce itself, have donated millions of dollars since 2016 toward nonprofits that benefit San Francisco's homeless.

But Benioff's most recent efforts to advocate for the homeless have centered around a tax measure called Proposition C, which passed in early November when it appeared on the San Francisco ballot during the midterm elections.

Benioff's staunch support of the tax measure has led him to engage in public feuds on Twitter with other tech executives, like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Zynga cofounder Mark Pincus

Prop C, although tied up in legal challenges that may delay when it takes effect, would tax major companies that gross more than $50 million each year. This would include Benioff's Salesforce, the largest private employer in the city, which would stand to pay between $10 million and $11 million a year, per the Benioff's estimates.

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