Why Is SF Putting Homeless People into This Mass Indoor Camp?
Street Sheet just broke this story about how Mayor Breed has opted to use Moscone Center as a big indoor camp for San Francisco’s homeless population. While initially it sounds like a good idea to stop the spread of coronavirus, the details unfortunately prove otherwise. In fact, there’s a ton of problems with this scenario.
The first is that none of the folks who are being sent to the Moscone Mission are coming from off the street. As the Street Sheet article points out, there are currently only 390 mats available (according to the 2019 SF homeless count there are over 5,100 people living on the street). Yet,
“…homeless San Franciscans will be moved out of smaller local shelters and into these massive congregate shelters, where hundreds of people, the majority of whom already have disabilities or chronic illnesses, will sleep on mats on the floor exactly six feet from each other.”
Another major issue is that currently there are “no hand-washing stations, bathrooms facilities are shared and limited, staff don’t have Narcan and there are no sharps containers.” As you can tell from the photo above, there’s obviously no barriers between people to stop the spread of the virus. The mats are on the floor and only sectioned off by masking tape.
The most striking thing about all of this, is that there is already a far better plan that has been suggested, yet curiously, not rolled out.
At least five members of the Board of Supervisors have called for the Mayor to move every homeless person in San Francisco, who can care for themself, into a hotel room. As Supervisor Hilary Ronen told 48Hills, “We have the hotel rooms, we have the money, and we have the staffing. Why aren’t we doing this?”
Currently there are over 30,000 vacant hotel rooms in San Francisco, which is more than enough to house every homeless person in The City and help stop the spread of coronavirus. On top of that, Mayor Breed and Tomás Aragón of the Department of Public Health, have the power in an emergency to commandeer hotel rooms and other vacant units in order to provide housing for those in need.
As an explanation to why The City won’t be using these hotel rooms to shelter-in-place homeless people and stop the spread of coronavirus, Trent Rhorer, director of San Francisco’s Human Services Agency told Street Sheet this in an email:
As 48Hills says, “It’s way cheaper to put people in hotel rooms at $70 a night (which hotels are accepting) than in the Intensive Care Unit at SF General (at least $5,000 a day).” Seems pretty obvious to me.
If you feel the same way, reach out to the Mayor’s Office and let them know.