As Hotels Close, Advocates Say “Keep SIPs Open”

On October 20, the Tilden Hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood saw more people outside its doors on a damp, dreary afternoon than were inside. About two dozen activists from the Coalition on Homelessness, Senior & Disability Action and other allies and members of the city’s unhoused community rallied outside the nine-story hotel that, until that week, was used as a shelter-in-place (SIP) hotel to protect homeless people from COVID-19. 

The advocates demanded that SIP hotels funded and operated by the City stay open,

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Gimme Shelter

Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

“Gimme Shelter” -Jagger/Richards

Last weekend, San Francisco endured record rainfall during its first major rainstorm of the year, receiving over 4 inches of rain within the roughly 48 hours that it lasted. The storm had been forecast for over a week and was all over television, internet and radio. For most locals,

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Victims of a Failed System

Coordinated Entry is known to most folks experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. It is a system designed to coordinate and manage the limited resources available to unhoused people in San Francisco, and to prioritize who has access to housing subsidies and who does not. The evaluation is very strict and asks a range of questions about the health, income, and current living situation of those who enroll. 

There are people with jobs who work full time,

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Families Speak Out About Coordinated Entry

Since 2018, the City of San Francisco has been using a system called Coordinated Entry to distribute housing resources to homeless people. Coordinated Entry is mandated by the federal government, and requires the city to score homeless people with points, to identify which people are the most vulnerable. The people with the most vulnerabilities (for example disability, substance abuse, or mental illness), are the first ones prioritized to receive housing. The Coalition on Homelessness hosted a listening session in August with 35 families who were experiencing or had experienced homelessness to get feedback on how Coordinated Entry has been going for people.

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From Shelter to Her Own Place: One Woman’s Journey

My name is Dominique Griffin and I am an intern here at the Coalition on Homelessness. I wanted to take the time out of my day to share my story with you, about my challenges with being homeless and being housed. 

About two years ago I was living in the outer Bay Area in Suisun City, near Fairfield, with my 14-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. I started having trouble paying my rent, which was almost $1,800 a month!

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Tariq’s Narrative on Living and Surviving Homelessness

Street Sheet vendor Tariq Johnson stands in the Coalition on Homelessness office wearing his vendor badge on a landyard and grinning.

Editor’s note — we ran the first part of this piece in March of 2020, with the intention of running Part 2 in April. By April we were temporarily out of print as we grappled with how to continue the Street Sheet program safely while COVID raged in our communities. We’re so happy to be back in print twice a month, and to finally share Tariq’s story with our readers. Here is the full story:

I’m not sure where to begin and end this short tale about my homelessness.

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A Little Lot for a Lot of Help: Despite Disputes, the Embarcadero Navigation Center Debuts

If your tickets to the Giants game are in sections 126 through 135 at Oracle Park, then you might meet Joanna Shober. 

She’s worked in guest services for the Giants the last eight seasons, guiding people to their seats and offering her assistance as needed. In between baseball seasons, she’ll take similar jobs at the Chase and Moscone Centers.

“I help people,” she said succinctly, seated at a lime green table last winter with a Giants ballcap shielding her from the sun and a Fitbit wrapped over her left wrist that she found one day on the street.

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San Francisco Drags Feet Moving Tenderloin Residents into Shelter-in-Place Hotels

While the Tenderloin Plan began to be implemented on Thursday, only 16 people were moved into hotels, a mere 5% of the 300 person goal.

Friday, June 12th — Early Thursday morning, San Francisco’s Health Streets Operation Command (HSOC) arrived in the Tenderloin under the pretense of placing at least 300 of the Tenderloin’s unhoused residents into Shelter-in-Place Hotels. Clutching their lists of names, city workers scrambled down Turk street struggling to locate some of the people on their list that they would be moving into a nearby hotel,

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Life Under Quarantine: Unhoused, Sheltered in Place

Already normalized by COVID-19 “shelter in place” conditions that were prompted by the pandemic, housed and unhoused San Franciscans alike found themselves beset by a curfew that Mayor London Breed imposed on City residents for five nights from May 31 through June 4.

Through demonstrations and vocal outcry, community members rebuked the City’s response to nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd and countless African Americans slain by police officers as part of the nation’s systemic and social racism.

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California’s largest shelter outbreak: A case of government malfeasance

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. 

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