Workers’ rights groups that have been mobilizing and strategizing over how to react to the passage last year of Proposition 22 criticized a move announced this week by Albertsons, Safeway’s parent company, to eliminate hundreds of grocery delivery positions in California and replace them with gig workers from DoorDash.
Nearly four dozen groups announced Wednesday their opposition to San Francisco’s efforts to combat rampant drug dealing in the Tenderloin by using injunctions to increase penalties for dealers.
On Wednesday morning, a coalition of 45 organizations, including the public defender’s office, homeless advocates, immigration rights groups, drug policy organizations and youth-based nonprofits, held a press conference to express their opposition to the strategy. In a Dec. 3 letter to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, they said the injunctions are “draconian and wasteful,” and do little to address concerns around drug dealing and overdoses.
The city will house more people in hotel rooms than it had planned thanks to a law the Board of Supervisors passed unanimously Tuesday.
The legislation, drafted by Supervisor Matt Haney, establishes an emergency ordinance that requires the city to continue its practice of housing homeless people in hotel rooms while COVID-19 remains a risk. Emergency ordinances are used to rapidly respond to crises such as pandemics, and last 60 days.
Some city supervisors are pushing to continue using hotel rooms occupied by vulnerable homeless residents during the pandemic for a second cohort after current room residents are moved into other housing. Proponents say that despite a possible loss of federal emergency funds, discontinuing the program too soon would leave thousands unsheltered during the health emergency.
Though roughly three-fourths of the assessed residents of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place hotels are minorities, the city has no plan to assure that those people get safe landing spots in proportion to their race as it prepares to wind down the program.
Of particular concern for advocates is the priority list used to determine how to allocate housing to those experiencing homelessness. This system, called coordinated entry, does not take into account race when determining who is most in need of housing, despite the predominance of African Americans among hotel residents, service providers say.
A new collaboration between residents and the San Francisco Police Department to address crime and homelessness may result in an increase in surveillance cameras — specifically, Amazon’s controversial Ring products.
The collaborations have emerged after residents reached out to Mission Station for assistance in managing tents, drug use and trash on their streets.
As the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing scrambles to find placements for the more than 2,300 residents of its shelter-in-place hotels, little attention has been paid to the people who work at those sites. Nonprofit organizations that run the hotels are working diligently not just to identify exits for residents, but to keep their staff, many of whom have worked at these nonprofits for decades. When COVID-19 hit, San Francisco closed its shelters and navigation centers to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Many residents from those facilities were relocated to shelter-in-place hotels — and the shelter staff went with them. But now that the city has declared that the hotels must close, and with shelters operating at a fraction of their original capacity, there’s nowhere for staff to go.
San Francisco officials said they intend to reverse a policy change that would have left homeless shelter residents with fewer protections from eviction than they had before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The policy would have eliminated decades-old rules and endangered the rights of shelter residents and unhoused people citywide, increasing their risk of being pushed onto the street amid a coronavirus surge, advocates said.
On Wednesday, one day before advocates prepared to hold a protest initially billed as a “die-in” outside the Moscone Center South homeless shelter, the city reversed its decision.
San Francisco’s decision to move more than 2,000 homeless people out of hotel rooms could drive many back onto the streets, leaving them as vulnerable to COVID-19 as they were when the temporary housing program was launched in the spring.
Mayor London Breed’s apparent toleration of an unsanctioned homeless encampment “sweep” by a corporate event company this month has led her critics to ask whether the policy of City Hall is to turn a blind eye to privatized harassment of people living on the streets. The sweep, which occurred just past midnight on the morning of Sept. 10 outside the old Honda dealership on 12th Street, resulted in the disposal of eight people’s belongings. Neither the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing nor the mayor’s office clearly rebuked the actions of the event company, Non Plus Ultra.