Demand among homeless San Franciscans for the 40 slots the city is making available in its Haight-Ashbury safe camping site has outstripped supply, even as more than 1,000 hotel rooms and trailers meant for vulnerable residents sit empty. Around 60 people have requested to stay at the site, which has space for only 40 tents, said Mary Howe, director of the Homeless Youth Alliance.
Beginning today, San Francisco officials will be enforcing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew. Mayor London Breed announced the curfew, and said the National Guard was standing by, Saturday night after unrest broke out in the city’s downtown area.
Muni is running only a core system of buses with no rail lines in service. But around 100,000 people still ride every day. Cat Carter, interim executive director of the San Francisco Transit Riders, hasn’t been on Muni in months, but she and others in the organization have kept busy.
The San Francisco Unified School District has announced that fall classes will begin on Aug. 17, and administrators are in the process of planning how campuses will function as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. They are challenged with figuring out how to keep students safe and make classes engaging whether they are held remotely or in modified classroom settings. We heard directly from students about what life has been like for them under the shelter-in-place order.
Twenty-nine recreational vehicles leased by San Francisco to house homeless residents during the pandemic were never used for their intended purpose, an endeavor that may have cost the city as much as half a million dollars, a city official confirmed.
Instead of celebrating milestones as they prepare to enter what a few months ago was the best job market in half a century, college students throughout the Bay Area are worrying about their futures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic wave of unemployment it has unleashed.
The San Francisco school district’s Stay Over Program has played a major role in sheltering homeless students and their families and helping them move to more stable situations since the shelter-in-place rules were implemented. Service providers worry they may be joined in a few months by many more newly homeless students as job losses mount and more families get evicted.
The coronavirus pandemic has cost millions their jobs, and that means many tenants haven’t been able to pay rent, landlords have had trouble making mortgage payments and other bills are also stacking up. Debts can be sold to collections agencies, and even keep renters from accessing affordable housing.
Bay Area health officers have been working hard to coordinate the region’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. But as Mission Local managing editor and columnist Joe Eskenazi reported last week, that cohesion seems to have started crumbling
UPDATE 5/20/2020: Adds link to city website showing some open park restrooms in eighth paragraph of “Hygiene” section. More than four in every 10 emergency hygiene facilities the city has set up during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve homeless people lack at least one element essential to handwashing, the Public Press found. A third of the 55 toilets San Francisco provided for homeless residents were closed during posted operating hours or were out of soap, water or paper towels at the time of visits by reporters over the last two weeks. More than half of a separate set of 24 handwashing stations were missing an essential handwashing element, were unusable or could not be found. The results of the follow-up survey — conducted two months after a Public Press investigation revealed that many of the city’s emergency handwashing stations were broken, empty or missing — suggest large numbers of homeless people still lack access to adequate sanitation.