When residents of the tent city along Division Street voiced concern earlier this month about city officials attempting to force them from from their encampments actions that the Department of Public Works, for their part, have denied they appeared specifically skeptical about a then-unopened “low-threshold shelter" on Pier 80. Well, the shelter has opened, and it appears the skepticism may have been warranted.
The Chronicle reports that a soft opening of the shelter held last Friday revealed what appeared to be an unfinished housing solution. Situated under a huge tent inside of a warehouse (really), the shelter is meant to house 150 people but has neither flush toilets nor showers.
“When the first group [of people] came on Friday,” Sam Dodge, the new "homeless czar" in City Hall, told the Chronicle, “they were like, ‘Where’s the showers?’ And we’re working to change that. We want to have showers, toilets and everything, rather than just a mat on the floor.”
The installation of showers and flush toilets has apparently been held up because of fears of waste water getting into the Bay. Until that issue is addressed, it is understandable why the residents of Tent City may not want to go stay in what, essentially, is just a larger tent.
Dodge told the Chronicle that the campers can't stay on Division, however.
“It’s not viable and it is not a good solution," he told the paper. "There are many issues, not the least of which is going to the bathroom in a bucket or on the street."
If and when the shelter is fully operational, city officials will surely be watching closely to see if those camped on Division move of their own accord.
If Friday's soft opening is any indication, they shouldn't hold their breath.