Earlier this year, the San Francisco Public Press featured Gregory Nelson in “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis,” a photojournalism project by Yesica Prado documenting the experiences of people living in vehicles in the Bay Area. Prado followed up with Nelson to find out how his life has changed during the pandemic.
A move by President Biden Thursday is being hailed by advocates as an opportunity for San Francisco to place all its homeless residents in hotels for the next eight months.
One day after Biden was inaugurated, his administration announced that the federal government will fully reimburse local governments for the cost of housing people who are homeless and vulnerable to COVID-19 in settings where they have space and separation from others, such as hotel rooms. The order extends until Sept. 30, 2021.
In San Francisco, many of those supportive programs for businesses and workers come through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Director Joaquín Torres spoke with “Civic,” a radio show and podcast from the San Francisco Public Press, to talk about how the city is trying to help.
San Francisco plans to launch three high-volume sites to manage the rollout of two COVID-19 vaccines, with the goal of reaching 10,000 people a day, Mayor London Breed announced Friday. The sites will operate in addition to existing medical facilities and smaller, pop-up sites to create a citywide vaccination network.
San Francisco plans to expand access to drinking water for people living on the streets by adding permanent taps in three neighborhoods and leaving in place – for now – the temporary taps it installed after COVID-19 hit.
For many homeless residents, water access represents a hurdle between them and a job, a home — even survival. The demand for fresh water has been so great since March that several organizations began buying bottled water for distribution to homeless people at a cost of thousands of dollars.
Schools in San Francisco shut in March of 2020, and at the time, officials announced a three-week closure. Nearly 10 months later, the city has not set an official date for reopening them. As of December, the school district and unions couldn’t come to an agreement about what safety measures would be sufficient for reopening. Distance learning has been difficult for students, parents and teachers.
As San Francisco health organizations move to increase the number of available COVID-19 vaccinations, the city is dealing with a holiday surge that came on top of a huge Thanksgiving increase.
Months ago, legislators approved several layers of protections to keep renters from being kicked out and potentially made homeless during a pandemic. Now, several of those protections are expiring, though there are efforts under way to extend them and Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he supports an extension.
If you have been in close contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, you may get a call from a contact tracer, who will want to offer you some guidance about quarantining — including, potentially, connecting you to food or cleaning supply delivery. Among them is Paula Heaney, a San Francisco librarian. Like other city employees, who serve as disaster workers in the event of an emergency, Heaney transitioned to working as a contact tracer when the pandemic hit.
All of the staff and patients at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital who wish to are expected to be vaccinated by Wednesday. The University of California San Francisco is vaccinating 1,100 health care staffers a day, with plans to increase that number. The San Francisco Department of Public Health has inoculated over 6,000 people served by the department and supplied another 30,000 vaccines to other health care agencies in the city over the last 2½ weeks.
Those are just some of the medical organizations in the city vaccinating the city’s nearly 80,000 health care workers and vulnerable populations, with the allotments sent directly from the state, having been distributed by the federal government.
Dr. Grant Colfax, director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, said at a press conference Tuesday that “there have been no delays of people getting vaccinated at this time, demand far outweighs supply.” He added: “Our goal is to make sure that vaccine is not sitting in the freezer, and that as soon as the feds in the state supply a vaccine to local jurisdictions, to health care entities in San Francisco, that we get it into as many arms as quickly as possible.”
He said San Francisco weathered the post-Thanksgiving surge better than the rest of the Bay Area did. Whereas San Francisco has 35% of its intensive care unit beds vacant, only 5.9% of those beds are available, he said. Consequently, the region’s intensive care bed availability is below the state threshold to allow San Francisco to relax the stay-at-home order.
No fireworks, no parties on the beach, no Golden Gate Park light displays. How is a San Franciscan wanting to celebrate the end of this murderous, soul-sucking pandemic year supposed to have any fun?
You could attend any one of numerous live-streamed events, from comedy shows to live music to bell-ringing ceremonies to vaudeville cabaret shows.
Or, for a brief period, there was the opportunity to drop $100 for an in-person, three-course meal complete with burlesque and drag queen show in the Tenderloin. Except that event was canceled …