More than a month after the end of the moratorium on COVID-19-related evictions, requests for rent assistance far surpass authorized funds in San Francisco and continue to climb.
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.
In the ethnically and racially diverse Bay Area, local politicians have long been disproportionately white. Research shows that while more people of color have been running for and winning seats, they make up only slightly more than a third of the region’s elected officials. Some city councils are entirely white.
Emily Cohen, interim director for strategy and external affairs at the department, talked with “Civic” about where these investments are being focused — more than half of the funds are earmarked for housing — and why. A count of people visibly unsheltered on the street that takes place on one night every two years tallied about 8,000 people in 2019. Cohen said city programs have helped some 25,000 people exit homelessness since 2005.
A group of experts in relevant fields, from finance to affordable housing, has been selected to start to devise a business plan for a public bank. Fernando Martí, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and Sylvia Chi, principal co-author of AB 857, California’s Public Banking Act and a member of the California Public Banking Alliance, talked with “Civic” about how a public bank would work.
The International Hotel on the corner of Jackson and Kearny in San Francisco is the second of its name. The original was a residential hotel, with small rooms affordable to low-income workers. On Aug. 4, 1977, more than 100 residents were evicted all at once, despite thousands of protesters outside.
This year’s civil grand jury, a volunteer government oversight body, chose to focus one of its reports on the Van Ness Improvement Project to try to get a clear picture of what happened. Juror Judy Sanderlin detailed some of the findings of the report, titled “Van Ness Avenue: What Lies Beneath,” on “Civic.”
The Rev. Amos Brown, senior pastor at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco and president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, is on both committees. He discussed with “Civic” California’s legacy of racism and what form reparations could take in this state and city.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday to tour a detention facility and meet with people who have made the journey to the United States.
For San Francisco resident Soledad Castillo, who left her home country of Honduras at age 14 to cross the border, the vice president’s visit and her previous statements on immigration have been frustrating.
A proposed three-month extension to the statewide eviction moratorium, set to expire in less than a week, could override recently approved tenant protections in San Francisco, leaving tenants vulnerable to eviction starting in October, tenant advocates said.
SF Has Not Made a Single Payment From Federal Rent-Relief Program as Eviction Moratorium Poised to End
With time running out, not a single San Francisco resident has received a check from the city’s federally funded rent-relief program. Barely a week remains before landlords can resume evictions for unpaid rents due during the pandemic.
“I have never been evicted or homeless,” said Buddy Bates, a renter in Parkmerced and father of two. “I live in that fear constantly now.”