A total of 31 hotels in San Francisco have stepped up to offer 8,500 vacant rooms for lease by the city, and more may be getting under contract soon.
As the Examiner reports, hotels including the Westin St. Francis in Union Square, and the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway on Van Ness have offered to make deals with the city, though none of these are yet finalized.
Supervisors Matt Haney, Aaron Peskin, Dean Preston, Hillary Ronen, and Shamman Walton want to press even more hotels into service to house the homeless, regardless of their "at-risk" status for severe cases of COVID-19. As Mission Local reports, the supes held a virtual press conference on the matter on Monday.
The city has previously said that hotels will be leased both for use as self-isolation facilities for front-line healthcare workers who do not want to potentially infect members of their families, and as shelters for the homeless and those living in close quarters with shared bathrooms in SROs. The hotel rooms may also be offered to seniors living in long-term care facilities like Laguna Honda Hospital — as nursing homes have become clear vectors for this disease both in Washington State and the Bay Area.
For the homeless, the question will come down to how many will be given individual hotel rooms — and the mayor is already pushing back on criticism of the plan from supervisors.
Speaking to the Examiner, Supervisor Ronen said, "We believe that if we have upwards of 30,000 empty hotel rooms in San Francisco and we have thousands of people on our streets and living in dangerous congregate living scenarios that are able to take of themselves in individual rooms then we should move them into those rooms."
Trent Rhorer, who is heading the city's emergency shelter program, believes that there are about 8,000 unsheltered homeless people in San Francisco, around 4,500 who would qualify as "prioritized" or most at-risk, per the Examiner.
Statewide, a similar effort is being undertaken by Governor Gavin Newsom, and two Oakland motels were reportedly leased last week for use as homeless shelters.
Previously: California to Use Hotels and Motels to Shelter Homeless During Pandemic
SF Supe Wants to Turn Vacant Building at Center of Scandal Into Homeless Shelter; Newsom Leases Two Oakland Hotels for Shelters
Photo courtesy of the Westin St. Francis