SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco city leaders made a monumental vote and approved the purchase of a local motel that will be transformed into supportive housing for the homeless.
The city is expected to soon approve two other sites in the city for the same use.
Three sites will house more than 300 homeless individuals across the city. There was supposed to be a fourth site but city leaders have since pumped the breaks after that site in Japantown caused controversy among its neighbors.
This means the city could miss out on some state funding.
“We just made a historic vote for our community. It’s one of the first purchases in the city of a hotel that we’re going to transform into affordable housing for those that are transitioning out of homelessness or could be homeless. They will be paying rent just like all the renters in this city,” Supervisor Ahsha Safai said.
San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai is referring to the Mission Inn which sits in his district in the Outer Mission.
“Because we have money now with Prop C, the tax that was put on properties gross receipts in the city over $50 million we have an oversight committee that recommended hotel purchases and in our city it costs about eight to $900,000 per unit for new construction. We will be purchasing this building with all the rehabilitations and it will be $450,000 per unit. 52 units in a part of town that’s family-oriented,” Supervisor Safai said.
Supervisor Safai says the board is expected to approve another two sites in the coming weeks. That in total will house more than 300 homeless individuals.
One of those properties is a student apartment building in SoMa and another is a single-room-occupancy hotel in the Mission.
The city plans to apply for state funding for at least one, and possibly all three properties that if accepted, could cover about half of each purchase.
However, the state funding through Homekey is time-sensitive and now the city could miss out on matched funding for a fourth site, the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown after strong opposition from its neighbors.
“Everyone wants homelessness solved but people are worried. They have concerns and to be honest, neighborhoods block the things they most need which is if they had housing in their neighborhood they would have fewer people facing homelessness,” Dr. Margot Kushel said.
The director at UCSF’s Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, Dr. Margot Kushel, says solving homelessness shouldn’t be just one neighborhood or community’s responsibility.
Jennifer Friedenback with the Coalition on Homelessness says losing state funds would also result in fewer units to house people.
“All of this money really counts and all of these buildings really count. If we’re going to make a visible difference in homelessness it’s going to take a lot of investment and a lot of hard work and it takes all of San Franciscans to pitch in. That means being open to having housing in your neighborhood,” Friedenback said.
The city is expected to approve the other Mission and SoMa sites next week.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Safai says discussions continue regarding that fourth location in Japantown.