“Housing is the Cure”

A response to Mayor’s Neglect of Homeless San Franciscans during Global Pandemic

“Housing is the cure!”

This mantra was shouted from the windows of over 50 vehicles rolled together in a caravan demanding hotel rooms and long term housing solutions for the 7,000 people currently fighting for survival on the streets of San Francisco.

The action marked the launch of “Housing is the Cure”, a campaign to demand immediate action to support all people experiencing homelessness in the city during the COVID19 pandemic.  The Do No Harm Coalition, Poor Magazine Prensa Pobre, San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, Solidarity Forever Collective, Faith in Action Bay Area, Reclaim SF, and Resistance SF, along with other concerned San Francisco organizations and residents have joined together to carry out a series of direct actions until their demands are met.

“People experiencing homelessness are getting sick and dying as a result of the mayor’s inaction,” said Dr. Rupa Marya of  UCSF’s Do No Harm Coalition. “They already bear the wounds of gentrification, evictions, and structural racism. We need a culture of care to heal these wounds, not additional neglect.”

A person in a doctor's coat and face mask is in the foreground, behind them a vehicle with a sign taped to it that reads "HOUSING IS THE CURE"
Photo credit: Brooke Anderson / https://www.movementphotographer.com/

Nearly eight weeks after the city’s public health order took effect, over 7,000 people experiencing homelessness still have nowhere to shelter in place to protect themselves during the pandemic.  Although the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an Emergency Ordinance on April 14 to activate 7,000 hotel rooms for homeless San Franciscans, Mayor Breed has refused to enact the legislation. Today, only 1,347 people have been sheltered in hotels and no new rooms have become available over the past week.

The coalition is demanding a release of at least 8,000 vacant hotel rooms to shelter unhoused San Francisco, a commitment to transition all houseless guests to permanent housing, access to voluntary harm reduction, mental health, and medical services for unhoused people, and the transition of ownership of a vacant hotel to houseless, indigenous and poor peoples to steward our own solutions to homelessness.

A line of vehicles stretches down a San Francisco street. People wearing face masks lean out the windows. A sign reads "Housing for all".
Photo credit: Brooke Anderson / https://www.movementphotographer.com/