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Help is on the way to those hit hardest by pandemic in San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON/BCN) – San Francisco city leaders announced the opening of a new Essential Services Hub. 

The site is part of Mayor London Breed’s $28.5-million commitment to support the city’s Latino COVID-19 response effort. 

San Francisco’s Bayview District is the location of the city’s new Essential Services Hub.

The hub, located at 1329-1331 Evans St., aims to help residents most affected by the pandemic, providing services like access to health care and COVID-19 testing; financial subsidies for rent and food; job placement and training; access to food; and basic needs for families like diapers and formula.

“This hub will help residents in the community access food and what other basic goods they need,” Mayor London Breed said. 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed says the Bayview location will also serve as a COVID-19 lifeline for communities of color disproportionately impacted by pandemic

Additionally, the hub will also operate a learning hub for kids, offering full-day in-person programming, as well as internet access, for low-income youth and those experiencing homelessness or in foster care.

“Throughout our cities response to COVID, we focused on equity. We wanted to make sure we were reaching the people who were hardest hit. San Francisco’s Latino population has been hit the hardest by COVID-19, and out of all the neighborhoods in San Francisco, the Bayview has the highest rate of COVID cases. We are in touch regularly with organizations like Mission Neighborhood Center to hear what they need. What else the city can do to support them,” Breed said. 

One important aspect the mayor says she needs support from the hub’s organizers is convincing people of color in the Bayview that the government approved COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

“Because of the experiments that took place. Many of us remember and read about the Tuskeegee Experiment using Black people. Unfortunately infecting them with diseases and people are very leary about what this means for them today,” Breed said. 

“Yeah, I mean absolutely there is concern that people may not want to get it. I will be honest I still have a lot of questions that I want to ensure are answered before I go myself and do it and before I tell people this is a good idea,” health committee chair for the Latino Task Force Jon Jacobo said. 

The Bayview hub, like the Excelsior location before it, is modeled after the city’s flagship resource hub in the mission district. 

The services will be offered in multiple languages. According to Breed, the hub is much needed in the neighborhood as it continues to experience some of the highest COVID-19 case numbers amid a citywide surge.

Latinos account for 45 percent of all of the city’s cases while only representing 15 percent of the overall city population. In the Bayview, however, Latinos make up over 20 percent of residents.

“We know that this is a community (the Latino community) that has had many of the highest COVID-19 rates, particularly with frontline workers, with essential workers, with so many folks living in overcrowded housing and working in low-wage industries like restaurants, retail and small businesses decimated by this pandemic,” California Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said. “For this hub to open to serve the fundamental needs around food, health care, unemployment assistance and eviction prevention, it couldn’t be more important.”

Supervisor Shamann Walton, whose supervisorial district includes the Bayview, said making sure the needs of Latinos in his district were being met is crucial in the city’s COVID-19 prevention efforts.

“We need to make sure that all of our services are culturally responsive and speak the language of the folks we’re serving in our community. This hub is another layer and another an essential step that allow us to do that,” he said. “Typically, our faith-based organizations and other community-based organizations would provide a lot of these services, but to have a space that you can go to and know that most of your needs are going to be met, or you’re going to be connected to the opportunity, is so important.”

The new hub is being operated by the Mission Neighborhood Centers, with help from its partner organizations the San Francisco Department of Public Health, University of California at San Francisco, and the Latino Task Force, among others.

The hub is modeled after the flagship Latino Task Force Resource Hub at 701 Alabama St., city officials said.

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