On Friday afternoon several dozen people gathered outside the unassuming Palms Motel in Oakland, CA with signs reading “Housing is a Human Right” and “Hotels Not Graves.” Inside, Stefani Echeverría-Fenn, an adjunct classics lecturer who herself was formerly homeless and has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years, has chained herself in the bathroom of a small room. She has been demanding that the City of Oakland offer hotel rooms where she has helped set up for her unhoused neighbors at the intentional encampment at 37th Street and Martin Luther King,
Friday, May 8th
I went out to the encampment at what they call Fulton Mall today — the area on Fulton Street surrounded by the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Main Library and the Civic Center Plaza; As outreachers at the Coalition on Homelessness, we’ve been spending a lot of time there over the past week and a half. Today, things got lively! It has been extremely challenging getting straight answers, but I feel like we started getting some today.
A plea for survival during COVID-19
“Like anybody, I would like to have a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.”
-Martin Luther King Jr. on April 3, 1968, the evening before he was assassinated.
These final prophetic words of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Doctors, public health experts call for testing and housing all shelter residents in hotels
Yesterday, California experienced its most widespread outbreak of COVID-19 in any homeless shelter to date where nearly half of 144 shelter residents tested positive. For some perspective, the outbreak in this single shelter of 70 shelter guests comprises 8.5% of all positive cases in San Francisco, which total 857 as of Saturday.
When looking back on the lead-up to this catastrophe we see a series of policy missteps that got us here.
UPDATE: Our coverage of this outrageous plan prompted a shift for the city. Get the latest coverage HERE
A look inside the new Moscone Center congregate “Shelter”
While hundreds of advocates have been desperately contacting Mayor London Breed imploring her to place homeless people in hotel rooms and vacant units, it seems she has her own plan for addressing poverty during the pandemic: opening indoor camps to further concentrate vulnerable people.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, San Francisco Mayor London Breed has refused to use executive powers to house San Francisco’s 9,000 homeless residents living in the City’s streets and shelters. Under the Mayor’s emergency powers in the Charter and Administrative Code, Breed has the authority to commandeer a portion of the 33,000 vacant hotel rooms to house homeless residents, but has yet to utilize those powers in spite of the dire situation at hand.
Project Homeless Connect planned to host their regular homelessness services fair that centralizes services for unhoused people to access on March 4th. But two days before the date, the group sent out an email alerting participants and providers that the fair was cancelled, on the recommendation of the Department of Public Health (DPH). Health officials were gearing up for Coronavirus to hit the city, and bringing together thousands of providers and volunteers and unhoused people could pose a risk to the health of all in attendance.
San Francisco is facing a serious housing affordability crisis. We can all agree to that fact and I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise to hear. With homelessness increasing by 15-30% last year depending on who you talk to, and the cost of rental housing at an all-time high, everyone in San Francisco is feeling the effects of the crisis. So why, given the level of suffering we see on our streets every day,
DPW Director Mohammed Nuru Removed from Post
by TJ Johnston
On January 26th the U.S. Department of Justice arrested Mohammed Nuru, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Works, on charges of honest services wire fraud in an alleged bribery scheme involving a member of the City’s Airport Commission. He had also arrested five days earlier for disclosing the investigation and then lying about it to the FBI.
By Ben Baczkowski
On December 11, 2019, San Francisco city officials officially announced the opening of the Vehicle Triage Center (VTC) located on San Jose Avenue near Balboa Park BART station. The yearlong pilot program will provide a secure parking location and targeted services for folks living in their vehicles, and is the first safe parking facility of its kind in San Francisco’s history. The site includes up to 30 parking spaces with mobile blackwater pumping services,