When COVID-19 first hit the streets of San Francisco in 2020, the response was dramatic. People with housing began to shelter in place, mutual aid networks sprung up, and tenants went on rent strike. While San Francisco publicly spotlighted its shelter-in-place hotel program, which offered private rooms to about 1,500 unhoused people, many unsheltered San Franciscans were left to fend for themselves as shelters closed down and services shuttered their doors. During the two and a half years that the program operated,
by Johanna Elattar
As I stand in line at the supermarket, there are two women ahead of me. They’re talking about the pandemic. The two women are discussing the end of the emergency food stamps that were given to everyone who’s on public assistance during quarantine, and for several months after. Now, communities are lifting requirements to wear masks in most public places, and social distancing has become a thing of the recent past.
The program accommodating unhoused San Franciscans during the COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled to end in mid-December with the shuttering of the Hotel Whitcomb, according to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH).
The Whitcomb has become the last remaining safe harbor for homeless people in its final days of participating in the shelter-in-place (SIP) hotel program. Since the program began during the pandemic’s early days in April 2020, the Whitcomb has been one of 25 sites that provide a place to stay for people who would otherwise have no roof over their heads at the onset of a global public health emergency.
When COVID-19 hit San Francisco, it made matters worse for all of us struggling to live on the streets. The cold, rainy nights with flimsy shelters, no balanced diet, no proper clothing and no money to help even in acquiring the cheapest commodities in the convenience stores are harder than one might imagine.
COVID made the streets so unbearable. At first no one knew what it was.
by Samel Leparan
COVID-19 hit indigenous people and immigrants in San Francisco especially hard, leaving many in poverty and homelessness. Poor and homeless people were especially affected by the many restrictions and safety regulations that were enforced.
Kate had just traveled to America with a round-trip ticket to visit her uncle James in San Francisco. James had promised to help her get documents and admission to an American university.
San Francisco just released its first point in time (PIT) count of homeless and unsheltered people in the City since before the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of city workers and volunteers scoured the city on February 23, 2022, tallying those most vulnerable members of our community who live without adequate shelter in this prosperous City by the Bay. The findings of the PIT count make for sobering reading.
We are all aware that in 2020 there was an immediate and concerted effort to get unhoused people inside—or at least into ‘safe sleeping’ programs that connected them with services and provided them with a stable place to pitch their tents.
A ‘Return to Normal’ in Abnormal Times
Wastewater testing is showing that San Francisco is currently experiencing perhaps the biggest COVID-19 surge yet, at the same time as the monkeypox virus is sweeping the country. With mask mandates gone and eviction protections being rolled back, the City seems set on a return to normal in the most abnormal of times.
Against this backdrop, the City is shutting down shelter-in-place (SIP) hotels,
San Francisco got a sneak peek last month of the results from its 2022 homeless point-in-time count, which showed a drop in some kinds of homelessness. Advocates say directing public money into certain programs played a key role.
The count indicated a significant drop in the number of unsheltered homeless people and chronically homeless people, as well as a large bump in the number of people staying in shelters and transitional housing.
What does it mean for tenants?
Reprinted from CalMatters
When California legislators voted last June to again extend eviction protections, they promised the third time would be the charm.
But the state’s rent relief program, which has struggled to reach the neediest tenants and landlords from the start, continues to lag. As of last week, the state has paid $2.4 billion to about 214,000 households — fewer than half of all who have applied for aid.
When the first case of COVID-19 was reported, no one knew how far it would spread or how dramatically it would impact our lives. No one knew the damage it would do to our health, our finances, our mental wellbeing. As I write this the impact of this pandemic has been felt across borders, affecting everyone regardless of age, sex, religion or even social status. What we used to see as a normal routine became a luxury as our movement was restricted by lockdowns and self-isolations.