SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Concerns about San Francisco’s population of homeless people have been ongoing since the city’s shelter in place orders began in March.
On Thursday, San Francisco Director of Public Health Grant Colfax said 8-percent of the city’s homeless population has tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Mayor London Breed announced that more hotel rooms will be made available to vulnerable citizens.
“We’re talking about people who live in our single room occupancy hotels, who if they contract the virus, they can’t necessarily social distance themselves, in an SRO if they’re living there with their family. Or someone who’s homeless, or someone who lives in a congregate living setting, or anyone who lives with family, where there’s not the ability for them to self-quarantine,” Breed said.
The city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing told KRON4 that nearly 1,300 hotel rooms are currently being used to house vulnerable people.
Plans to move more of the city’s 8,000 homeless people are ongoing but encampments continue to grow throughout San Francisco.
“Unfortunately the folks on the street and in shelters still have not had the opportunity to shelter in place. But if we’re talking about reopening, that means folks who have been inside are going to be going outside more, and as we know we’ve got now thousands of folks outside on the street camping out,” Chris Herring said.
City supervisors have proposed legislation to open five safe sleeping sites in places like parking lots.
The first opened with 20 tents in the Bayview neighborhood and another is set for this week, near the Asian Art Museum.
Future sites may open at the temporary Transbay Terminal downtown, at Everett Middle School on Church Street, and outside Golden Gate Park in the former McDonald’s parking lot.
“Folks want to have some organized safe spaces, many people do, where they can access the sanitation, where they can access medical services, make the delivery of food easier,” Herring said.
The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is working to expand such services, while supervisors and other experts call for more widespread testing in encampments and shelters.
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