Public Works eorkers in vests work to clear an encampment.

Report Calls SF’s Homeless Sweeps Practices Illegal

On Thursday, a damning report dropped, offering new data on San Francisco’s practice of sweeping encampments. Authored by the Coalition on Homelessness, the report alleges the Healthy Streets Operation Center regularly fails to offer an adequate number of shelter beds to people on the streets during its cleanup operations and is illegally discarding people’s belongings. The practices create serious legal risk for San Francisco.

Two doctors protest outside Mayor London Breed's house on April 30, 2020, calling for more hotel rooms to be opened for people experiencing homelessness to safely shelter during COVID-19. The one in front holds a sign reading "this is a public health nightmare."

As COVID Cases Surge Among SF’s Homeless, Shelter Options Narrow

As cases of COVID-19 surge in San Francisco, advocates question whether the city can prevent another outbreak in the homeless community. Between June 30 and July 31, confirmed cases among homeless people quadrupled from 18 to 78. But as the delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps across the city, there is a growing shortage of safe places for homeless people to go.

Two toilets sit on a movable trailer on a street in San FRancisco's Mission District.

City’s Popular Portable Toilets Frequently Moved or Closed

While the number of 24-hour Pit Stop public bathrooms increased 16-fold at the beginning of the pandemic, keeping them in place has proven to be a challenge. Many high-traffic Pit Stops — some used more than 1,000 times per month — are being relocated, and Supervisor Mat Haney wants to know why.

White boxes are painted on a stretch of asphalt, with each box containing a tent.

Housing Elusive for Residents of Haight’s Sanctioned Campsite

The site in an old McDonald’s parking lot at the edge of Golden Gate Park opened in May 2020 with 40 spots, becoming the city’s second sanctioned tent camp.

On June 16 it shuts down. The question now is where to move site residents, many of whom have called the Haight neighborhood home for decades and don’t want to leave.

Shireen McSpadden, Noelle Simmons, and Cynthia Nagendra, new leaders of San Francisco's homelessness agency.

Multiple Challenges Confront New Leaders at SF Homelessness Department

The selection of Shireen McSpadden to lead the city’s homelessness department is being greeted optimistically by officials who have dealt extensively with San Francisco’s chronic inability to find shelter for all its residents.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Joe Wilson, a prominent advocate for homeless people, said they were encouraged by the choice of McSpadden, who is set to take over May 1 — becoming the fourth person to hold the role in 14 months.

The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing was founded in 2016 by former Mayor Ed Lee, who consolidated programs that had been scattered throughout different departments and brought them all under one roof with the promise of ending homelessness for 8,000 San Franciscans in four years.

Chris Block speaks at a podium in front of a projector screen

SF Creates New Office Tasked With Relocating Homeless Hotel Residents

A new city agency, founded in the wake of rising concerns about the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s ability to house the city’s homeless population, aims to bring 2,000 people into permanent shelter by the end of the year.

The new Office of Housing Opportunities will be a division of the COVID Command Center, shifting responsibilities away from the Department of Homelessness. Chris Block, formerly the director of the chronic homelessness division at Tipping Point, a nonprofit focused on battling poverty and homelessness, is directing the effort.

People living on the streets of San Francisco, like the residents of these tents, will have a higher likelihood of accessing housing due to a new ordinance.

Hundreds More Homeless People Could Get Housing Under Emergency Policy

More than 600 people living on San Francisco’s streets could soon get placed in permanent supportive housing.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an emergency ordinance that lifts restrictions on
who can access this type of shelter, which includes services like mental health and substance use treatment and employment assistance.

Abigail Stewart-Kahn, interim director of San Francisco's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Advocates Press SF to Fill Supportive Housing Vacancies With People Living on Streets

San Francisco should move people living on the streets to the top of the list for permanent supportive housing, advocates and service providers said Tuesday.

The current system of setting aside all available housing units specifically for homeless people living in shelter-in-place hotels is not proving effective, advocates and city officials said at a hearing of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance committee.