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San Francisco supervisors make steps to protect homeless population from spread of COVID-19

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco took a step in protecting its homeless population from the spread of COVID-19.

With the first COVID-19 diagnosis for a San Francisco shelter resident on Friday, city supervisors began making moves Monday. 

Thanks to a donation from the United Methodist Church, 17 residents of Hospitality House in the Tenderloin were moved into private hotel rooms.

“These folks were in a small room with over 20 people inside, they were in bunk beds, they weren’t able to self-isolate at all. They were terrified when they heard about the positive cases at another shelter and they are able to have a level of peace and security with regards to their health that everyone deserves right now,” Matt Haney said. 

Because all of these residents are currently healthy, Hospitality House will continue to provide them with services, like meals and counseling, at the new location. 

In the meantime, Haney and other supervisors plan to present new legislation Tuesday with the hope of making more hotel rooms available.

“We’re introducing emergency legislation tomorrow to procure thousands of rooms, to be able to house folks who need to be quarantined, first responders, and also people who in our shelters or navigation centers who are on the streets, who are vulnerable,” Haney said. 

While awaiting the city’s response to the proposed legislation, Haney says he’ll work on moving 37 residents from a women’s shelter in SoMa to private hotel rooms that’s set to happen later this week.

“This is something that everybody should be concerned about, not just cause of basic compassion empathy, but because if some people are vulnerable right now, that makes all of us vulnerable,” Haney said. 

Supervisors hope for more donor support to continue moving shelter residents, but also expect some reimbursement from federal and state sources.

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