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San Francisco Eyes Additional Vehicle Triage Center Sites

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By Jerold Chinn

While it’s still too soon to report results for San Francisco’s first safe parking program for vehicle dwellers, officials have already begun eyeing additional sites to establish another vehicle triage center.

The City’s Real Estate Division Director Andrico Penick told the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee Thursday that 14 potential sites have so far been identified, including one in District 3, three in District 6, four in District 7, one in District 8, one in District 9 and four in District 10.

Noting that the list is constantly changing, Penick said:

“These sites are still under evaluation. This evaluation is informed even from the conversations that we’re having here today.”

The City’s first pilot safe parking site, located in District 10 at 2340 San Jose Ave. near the BART Balboa Park station, opened last year in December.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai, who represents District 10, called for the safe parking program update to get a gauge for the need and desire to expand the program into other areas in the city.

Safai said:

“We want to go through the right community process and allowing the district supervisors and their community organizations to select the appropriate the sites as we expand this model and look for other opportunities because there is a definitely a need.”

San Francisco is evaluating sites where additional vehicle triage centers could be established to help the city’s vehicle dwellers as they await housing. Photo by The Tens/Flickr.

Abigail Stewart-Kahn and Dylan Schneider with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing provided a snapshot of the current pilot.

As of Feb. 12, there were 26 vehicles at the site with a total of 35 people. Of the 26 vehicles, 14 are RVs, two are school buses and 10 are passenger vehicles. The people living on the lot come from seven different districts across the city.

Schneider said 90 percent of eligible individuals have been given housing referrals and are awaiting availability.

The city reports the cost of the existing vehicle triage center runs approximately $1.5 million, which includes capital and some of the operating costs.

A Budget and Legislative Analyst report estimates the price of opening another safe parking site could cost anywhere from $4 million to $7.5 million depending on the site’s size and range of services offered.

Acknowledging that although it’s still too early assess the success of the safe parking model currently in place, Schneider said:

“We look forward to working and looking at all the various components and seeing what can be recommended for future sites and in what scalability.”

Safai has asked the department to report back to the board with a figure or target for the number of sites required to address the city’s overall vehicular homelessness.

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