Since 2017, homelessness has increased by 30 percent and a significant part of the increase in that population is due to an increase in the vehicularly housed population. Since 2015, the population of people living in their vehicles increased 22%. In response, what does the Department of Homelessness want to do?
Increase parking restrictions.
“The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has requested overnight parking restrictions to support their work to resolve vehicular encampments and discourage re-encampment on these streets. DHSH will conduct thorough outreach to, and engagement with, people living in vehicles parked on these streets before carrying out encampment resolutions, and coordinate with the SFMTA on timing for posting parking restrictions.”
You may be wondering, is this because they have housing for those people living in their vehicles?
The short answer? No.
The plan is to “resolve” areas where people are living in cars and then restrict those areas entirely. Just like folks trying to survive in tents, people in vehicles are inhumanely swept from place to place when their vehicle is often the last thing keeping them from living directly on the streets.
Where are people supposed to go?
The Homelessness Department has introduced a plan to build a “Vehicle Triage Center”, but that center will only have 33 parking spots — and the initial draft plan was to have 15 spots only for the storage of vehicles and three spots for staff. That would leave just 15 spots for people to have a safe place to park, and only for the duration of 60 to 90 days.
This is the department’s cruel and inhumane work. Instead of simply focusing on providing services and housing to vehicularly housed people, they have insidiously advocated for increased parking limitations. At the SFMTA Engineering Public Hearing on August 2, they will vote on taking more than 79 “oversize vehicle” spaces in the vicinity of Evans Avenue, Cesar Chavez and Phelps streets, while the Vehicle Triage Center will have 30 spots at most.
To say this is inhumane and inadequate is an understatement. Until every San Franciscan has a home, we need safe parking!