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San Francisco to open tent encampment sites for the homeless


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — In an effort to address the rise in tent encampments in San Francisco, the city is now opening sites called Safe Sleeping Villages, where people can set up their tents in a more safe and clean environment.

The sleeping areas will be temporarily supervised and maintained by the city through the pandemic.

This comes after the city failed to secure more than 8,000 hotel rooms for the homeless. 

More tents are popping up across San Francisco as homeless shelters either closed or lowered capacity for physical distancing.

In its newest effort to address homelessness during the pandemic, the city is setting up temporary supervised sites called “Safe Sleeping Villages”. 

“As we work to try to get folks into vacant hotel rooms which is the best solution, in the mean time we also need the plan B to be in effect and that’s creating these safe sleeping sites where folks can move from unsupervised and frankly unsafe encampments on the streets into supervised and more healthy settings at safe sleeping sites,” San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston said.

Preston says the move comes after the city failed to secure more than 8,000 hotel rooms for the homeless.

He said the second sanctioned site will be in his district, at Haight and Stanyan streets. The first is in the Civic Center.

“This is not just an issue of throwing up some tents and a fence around them. You know the plan for these safe sleeping sites is to have 24/7 services available,” Preston said. “We were very clear that the one in our district, we wanted to make sure that the nonprofit homeless service providers who are already working with the population on the street are involved in the management and operation of the site so they’ll be there. There will be bathrooms, food.”

The site will hold 40 tents.

It used to be a McDonalds and is now owned by the city, with plans to become affordable housing.

Preston said these sleeping areas are a temporary band aid, and not a solution to the city’s failure to move more homeless people into hotel rooms.

“There’s almost 40,000 vacant hotel rooms in city and county of San Francisco and you have a homeless population under 10,000 and most of whom can self care in a hotel room so there’s really no excuse,” he said. “I’ve been critical of the slow speed of the administration in moving homeless people into hotels.”

In the meantime, the Haight Ashbury site will launch within the next two weeks.

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