With the state emerging from a pandemic that prompted emergency action and investment to bring people living on the street indoors, and after recent pledges from state and local officials to invest in solutions to homelessness, local nonprofit leaders discussed what long-lasting solutions might look like.
“Civic” spoke with Tomiquia Moss, founder and CEO of AllHome, a regional organization working to disrupt cycles of poverty and homelessness and to create more economic mobility for extremely low-income people. Moss describes the need for more investment across different interventions to reduce the pressure to prioritize those who have the most complex and chronic needs over those who could exit homelessness with shorter-term help, or over prevention strategies.
Members of San Francisco’s Street Crisis Response Team show up to situations when someone is experiencing a mental health or substance-related crisis, as an alternative to police response, which can escalate such situations.
While the number of 24-hour Pit Stop public bathrooms increased 16-fold at the beginning of the pandemic, keeping them in place has proven to be a challenge. Many high-traffic Pit Stops — some used more than 1,000 times per month — are being relocated, and Supervisor Mat Haney wants to know why.
The site in an old McDonald’s parking lot at the edge of Golden Gate Park opened in May 2020 with 40 spots, becoming the city’s second sanctioned tent camp.
On June 16 it shuts down. The question now is where to move site residents, many of whom have called the Haight neighborhood home for decades and don’t want to leave.
More than a year after COVID-19 shut down much of the city, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is set to resume all parking enforcement policies and phase in towing.
Advocates opposing San Francisco’s towing practices have asked for a permanent moratorium.
Members of San Francisco’s Homeless Outreach Team — also known as the “HOT team” — walk neighborhood beats to offer support, information and referrals to services to people living on the streets. During the pandemic the resources available, particularly shelters, changed significantly. Mark Mazza, outreach manager for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, talked with “Civic” about how those changes influenced the outreach team’s work.
The selection of Shireen McSpadden to lead the city’s homelessness department is being greeted optimistically by officials who have dealt extensively with San Francisco’s chronic inability to find shelter for all its residents.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Joe Wilson, a prominent advocate for homeless people, said they were encouraged by the choice of McSpadden, who is set to take over May 1 — becoming the fourth person to hold the role in 14 months.
The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing was founded in 2016 by former Mayor Ed Lee, who consolidated programs that had been scattered throughout different departments and brought them all under one roof with the promise of ending homelessness for 8,000 San Franciscans in four years.
A new city agency, founded in the wake of rising concerns about the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s ability to house the city’s homeless population, aims to bring 2,000 people into permanent shelter by the end of the year.
The new Office of Housing Opportunities will be a division of the COVID Command Center, shifting responsibilities away from the Department of Homelessness. Chris Block, formerly the director of the chronic homelessness division at Tipping Point, a nonprofit focused on battling poverty and homelessness, is directing the effort.
Two reporters who have been covering the city’s response to homelessness during the pandemic for the San Francisco Public Press, Brian Howey and Nuala Bishari, reflect with “Civic” on a year of stories about seizing belongings, COVID-19 testing, hotel policy and supportive housing.