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.
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.
For its 35th Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards, the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter, recognized Public Press reporter Brian Howey with an Ongoing Coverage award for his reporting and critique of San Francisco’s systems supporting the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.
At this year’s SF Urban Film Fest, several programs examining homelessness include activities in which participants will be asked to connect with perfect strangers. In one case, they’ll be prompted to write love notes or put together care packages. Multimedia journalist Yesica Prado and Fay Darmawi, the film festival’s founder and executive director, curated the events and discussed on “Civic” how participants might gain new perspectives on homelessness.
Staff members at the nonprofit service provider Hospitality House have been on the job, in facilities like drop-in centers and working with the public in person, throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Executive Director Joe Wilson told “Civic” he encountered mixed and changing messages when he and his staff tried to determine which of them should get vaccinated, when and how.
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 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 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 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.
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.
Coronavirus cases have soared this month among San Francisco’s homeless population and residents of the city’s single-room-occupancy hotels. The city reported 59 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among unhoused people from Dec. 1 to Dec. 18, more than in September, October and November combined.