With the declaration of a yet-opened SAFE Navigation Center in the Upper Market area — a community touchstone that'll add up to 200 shelter beds — this week, Mayor Breed will fulfill her 2018 promise of bringing a thousand new shelter beds to San Francisco. But is that enough?
No … but it's a promising stride in the right direction.
We're meeting our goal of 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of the year--the largest expansion in 30 years.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) January 18, 2020
But we need to do more, which is why we're setting another ambitious goal of 2,000 new placements to get people into the care & shelter they need. https://t.co/KHMicJQ1mA
In a profusely bullet-pointed (and bolded) Medium post published yesterday, the San Francisco mayor stated that she’ll have brought 1,065 new shelter beds to our slice of Northern California by the year’s end. Laudable? Yes.
"To be sure, this is something to be proud of," Breed pens on the online publishing platform. "It took the City coming together and working with our nonprofit service providers and State partners, and [a lot] of City staff time."
As it stands, SF's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing reports the city contains some 1,200 shelter beds, 566 of which were opened by Breed since taking office in 2018; another 499 exist in limbo, expected to open later in 2020.
Alas, even when those 499 do come online, the number of San Francisco shelter beds will still remain odiously disproportionate to the population they're intended to serve: For every four or five individuals without a safe space to rest their heads at night, they'll be the only one available shelter bed.
(Breed claims in her 1,000-word post that "upwards of 5,000 people" experience homelessness in SF on any given night. Though it’s worth mentioning more current figures and "night counts" put that estimate at a more dystopian 9,000 or more individuals.)
"Shelters and Navigation Centers are only the first step in the solution," Breed adds. "We need housing for people who are exiting homelessness, and need to make sure we’re providing housing at multiple levels of care so people can get the services they need to permanently exit homelessness and make their home in San Francisco."
“A house is not a home...” Shelter beds are an important first step; affordable housing and housing-as-a-human-right is the realization of Franciscan ideals and the only apology for Bay Area wealth.— Alexander (@alexgraysf) January 19, 2020
Wealth itself is sinful; wealth shared creates virtue. #HousingIsAHumanRight https://t.co/wQQH6fXsIy
That "need" she (and by extension, the City of San Francisco) intends to meet, albeit through obscure blueprints.
"We’ll be focusing on building more housing, especially permanent supportive housing, to provide more places for people to live once they exit shelters and Navigation Centers," Breed waxes before professing (rightly) the need for more accessible mental health services, local- and state-level policy changes, among other fundamental improvements.
In light of the Bay Area’s current housing bleakness — the militarized eviction of the Moms 4 Housing from their West Oakland squat; a growing number of "immoral" late-night street sweeps; more and more rideshare drivers increasingly spending nights cocooned inside their vehicles; curbside domiciles being erected as a means of last resort — those ideated necessities can’t come to fruition soon enough.
Breed intends to add another 2,000 placements for people who are experiencing homelessness over the next two years.
Image: Medium via @LondonBreed