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.

Inside Compass Family Services’ main resource hub.

Though Eligible for Vaccine, Some Homelessness Response Workers Turned Away

Mary Kate Bacalao, director of external affairs and policy at Compass Family Services and co-chair of the Homeless Emergency Service Providers Association, spoke with “Civic” about how her staff — and other workers in the sector — have experienced the process of figuring out their eligibility for a vaccine and actually getting one.

The Seneca Hotel, which offers permanent supportive housing for homeless people, has 27 vacant rooms.

1 in 10 SF Housing Units for Homeless Sit Vacant

Nearly one in every 10 of San Francisco’s permanent supportive housing units — earmarked for people experiencing homelessness — is now sitting empty. The number of vacant units has climbed 58% since September and now represents 9.9% of the permanent supportive housing stock.

The Buena Vista Inn, pictured, has served as one of more than two dozen San Francisco hotels used to shelter homeless people who are over 65 or have health risks.

FEMA to Retroactively Fund All Shelter-in-Place Hotel Costs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will retroactively reimburse states 100% of the cost for shelter-in-place hotels, dating back to January 2020, the White House announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the Biden administration pledged to fully fund hotels used to house homeless people over 65 or with compromised health going forward. Previously, municipalities were responsible for 25% of the costs.

San Francisco has opened 28 shelter-in-place hotels for people experiencing homelessness including the ornate and historic Hotel Whitcomb, pictured, on Market Street. Altogether, there are more than 2,000 rooms available to shelter in place.

Even as Funding Expands, Hotels May Resist Taking in More Homeless Residents

San Francisco is willing to open more hotel rooms to the homeless but may face roadblocks from hotel owners and service providers who would be needed to staff the sites.

On Monday, the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing sent a letter to community organizations outlining a rough plan to address an influx of funds expected from the Biden administration, which said it will fully reimburse local governments the cost of temporarily housing COVID-vulnerable homeless people in hotels. But the city’s letter comes with a caveat.

A man sits on the sidewalk with has hands restrained behind him while police officers look on.Four police officers responded to a call in March 2020 about a homeless man in the Castro.

New Emergency Homelessness Response Plan Calls for Elimination of Healthy Streets Operation Center

In an attempt to limit police involvement with emergency calls about homelessness, a city group is proposing eliminating a multimillion-dollar program launched in 2018.

The group, composed of representatives of about two dozen city agencies and non-profits, released a 74-page paper Tuesday outlining its plan, called the Compassionate Alternative Response Team.