Protest caravan demands hotel rooms for homeless

By Garrett Leahy : 48hills – excerpt

Medical, faith, and homeless communities puts the obvious question: why isn’t the city moving to take over, and ultimately buy, failing hotels for housing?

The streets around City Hall were filled with the sounds of cars honking, wooting, and chants of “housing is the cure!” on Friday evening as roughly 50 cars participated in a caravan protest calling for the city to house San Francisco’s homeless population in hotel rooms as well as increase their focus on acquiring long term affordable housing for the homeless.

The cars passed by city hall, the Painted Ladies, and along Pierce St. near Mayor London Breed’s home. The caravan protest was organized by homeless rights advocacy organizations the Coalition on Homelessness, the Do No Harm Coalition, and Faith in Action.

“We’re coming from different directions but we have one common goal which is to house the vulnerable for moral reasons, for health reasons, and it’s for the benefit of us all,” said Reverend Sadie Stone, a pastor at the United Methodist Church on Sanchez St and a member of Faith in Action… (more)

Community seizes MLK Park as immediate COVID relief for unhoused neighbors

by Maria Victoria Ahearne-Rosales, Beds 4 Bayview Coalition : sfbayview – excerpt

When the shelter-in-place order went into effect on March 17 in San Francisco, it would be safe to assume the order referred to those who had shelter. For the rest of our residents with no shelter, there would be no relief.

According to the San Francisco Homeless Point-in-Time Count & Survey, our city’s unhoused population has risen from 6,858 in 2017 to 8,035 in 2020. Carrying the second highest population of unhoused residents is District 10, with 1,841 total. Of those, 1,841 people, 313 are considered “sheltered,” leaving 1,528 “unsheltered” in District 10.

To further impact our unhoused population, shelters and navigation centers started to close. Describing what it was like when COVID hit Bayview Hunters Point, sitting in the Southeast corner of D10, is Gwendolyn Westbrook, CEO of United Council of Human Services, aka Mother Brown’s Dining Room:

“We went from serving 400 meals on a regular day to over 1,400 meals a day. Then the city closed the shelters. Then we had to decrease our services. Because of social distancing, our space would only allow us to have 25-30 people a mandatory 6 feet apart from each other. Whereas before, we used to have room for 130 people, upstairs and downstairs … (more)


First sanctioned tent city opens in SF

Supes assail SF Health Officer over absent homeless strategy

By Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt (includes audio track)

San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragón was hard-pressed for answers Tuesday evening as members of the Board of Supervisors grilled him about the Department of Public Health’s perceived lack of coronavirus strategy to address the city’s 8,000 homeless individuals.

“I’ve, frankly, been shocked that there has not been one health order issued yet directly related to this population …” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen, asking Aragón why he has not yet issued a binding order to commandeer hotel rooms to allow the homeless to safely shelter in place.

Aragón said the city needed to exhaust all its resources to obtain hotel rooms before taking the dramatic step of commandeering them, per advice from the City Attorney. “So it didn’t seem to me to make sense to do an order if the city has the capacity to negotiate and get hotel rooms,” he said, “as the Board of Supervisors has also passed an ordinance to require that, as well.”…(more)

Another spin doctor we don’t need. Who is commandeering rooms? Who can follow Dr. Aragón’s reasoning? Before we start to use the empty rooms that are being paid for we must negotiate for more rooms? Really? People just want to move into the rooms sitting empty now. We are told that there is a waiting list for the rooms but, no one, in including the supervisors, is allowed to see it. WHY ARE WE PAYING FOR EMPTY ROOMS?

What happened to the trailers and RVs we heard about? Has anyone moved into them yet? What is the problem with using them? And what happened to plans to set aside safe parking for vehicle dwellers? How many years will it take to get that done? This is not a disaster plan. This is nightmare of incompetence.

Supes have plan to staff hotel rooms — but mayor ignores it

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Increasingly bitter divide at City Hall as SF misses ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity

Sup. Matt Haney, with the support of four of his colleagues, put forward a plan this week to address the staffing needs that the mayor says are preventing the city from moving homeless people into hotels.

The plan, and the mayor’s response, has showcased an increasingly bitter political divide at City Hall.

Hotel Numbers

Haney presented the plan at a virtual press conference where Sups. Hillary Ronen, Shamann Walton, and Dean Preston jointly denounced the failure of Mayor London Breed to abide by city law that requires the city to provide 8,250 hotel rooms for homeless people by this past Sunday.

As of yesterday, the city has only 880 homeless people in hotel rooms, and 621 have come from shelters where they were likely exposed to the virus. There are more than 1,000 rooms that the city is paying for but are now vacant.

The overwhelming messages from health-care and faith leaders was that the mayor is creating a moral and medical crisis…(more)

Road map to a new start for San Francisco

By Connie Chan : sfexaminer – excerpt

We need to invest in working people

During this time of unprecedented public health crisis, I am as proud as ever to be a San Franciscan. I am grateful for all the hard work of our first responders, health care workers, educators and city workers, and for their dedication and service to keep our City safe and healthy. The quick actions from our city and state in response to COVID-19 may well save many lives in the coming weeks, and I remain hopeful that the City’s relief efforts will help provide some immediate support to our renters, working families, and small businesses..

Unfortunately, the social and economic impacts of this crisis will be devastating and far reaching. We may be facing a new era in which we need to fundamentally change how we live and conduct business. To address the impacts, I propose the New Start San Francisco plan. This plan will put forth transparent and coordinated efforts to leverage newly available state and federal funds to support job retraining and assistance for small businesses, invest in housing security for the homeless and working families and make much needed improvements to our public health system…

We must learn the lessons of COVID-19 and remember that for San Francisco to stay strong and thrive, we must invest in working people first.

Connie Chan is a longtime public servant, Richmond District resident and candidate for District 1 Supervisor...(more)

Supes increase pressure on mayor to find hotel space

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Emergency bill would mandate 8,250 rooms for homeless, service workers.

Five supervisors introduced emergency legislation today that would mandate that the city procure and provide 8,250 hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness and front-line public safety and health-care workers.

The move puts the board directly in conflict with Mayor London Breed, who said as recently as April 3 that putting all of the unsheltered people on the streets into hotel rooms “is not going to happen.”

The supervisors announced the move at an online press conference where they said they have been trying for a month to get the Mayor’s Office to move proactively to protect homeless people from the spread of the deadly disease. “Everything to date from the mayor and the Human Services Department has been reactive at best,” said Sup. Dean Preston. He said the mayor’s approach has been to “wait until people get sick.”… (more)


Mohammed Nuru’s worst offense

By Sam Lew : missionlocal – excerpt

Under Nuru, DPW routinely violated the rights of homeless people.

A $2,070 bottle of wine from a Chinese billionaire, a $5,000 bribe to an SFO airport commissioner, and a John Deer tractor for his vacation home in Colusa County.

These are just a few pieces of evidence that the FBI is using to charge Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru with fraud…

Following the investigation, there have been countless demands to end corruption and pay-to-play politics from the public and elected officials alike. Supervisor Hillary Ronen wrote  she was outraged; Supervisor Gordon Mar admonished the “casual culture of corruption.” Supervisor Matt Haney even called for a special investigator to be hired to further gut corruption in implicated city agencies.

But Nuru should have been fired long ago for something much more sinister: using the Department of Public Works as a tool to blatantly violate the civil rights of thousands of homeless San Franciscans… (more)