SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The APEC summit will bring a massive influx of visitors to San Francisco next week as world leaders, including President Biden, descend on the Moscone Center. But with the conference coming up soon, many are asking whether the city will do anything about the homeless people living nearby.
In fact, some KRON4 viewers are sending pictures of tents popping up in streets and neighborhoods where they normally wouldn’t be. These residents are claiming that the city is relocating homeless people from the area near the Moscone Center to these new neighborhoods.
There is precedent for a cleaner area around the Moscone Center for large events. Following the Dreamforce conference in September, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described San Francisco as “incredibly clean, beautiful, and safe,” after he had earlier threatened to pull the event from the city due to safety issues.
For APEC, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM) said that its outreach teams will focus on offering shelter to people in the area around the Moscone Center.
“When our community hosts events, like APEC, we want to put our best foot forward,” SFDEM said. “Dedicated outreach interventions will be focused on the conference vicinity and offering safe places for people experiencing homelessness will be a priority. The SF Homeless Outreach Team will connect people experiencing homelessness with services, shelter, and housing assessments in real time in the field.”
The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is not opening up any special shelter options for APEC, SFDEM said. However, HSH is opening the Interfaith Winter Shelter on Friday, in time for the conference. That will add 300 beds to the shelter system.
According to the Coalition on Homelessness, the Dolores Shelter Program on South Van Ness was told to stop taking in new people so that beds would be available for people forced to leave the area around APEC. That means people on the wait list will have to wait longer for a bed.
Human Rights Organizer of the Coalition on Homelessness Javier Bremond described what a “sweep” is like for people living on the street.
“It’s really demoralizing to see a sweep. Every single department that’s supposed to help you out is there to tell you to move all your stuff,” he said.
KRON4 reached out to the City of San Francisco about the claims that shelters are stopping intake to make shelter beds available only for unhoused people around the Moscone Center. We have not yet heard back.