The owners of multiple hotels that were leased by the city for its pandemic housing program are reportedly filing or planning to file lawsuits over damages they claim were done to their buildings as a result of the program.
As you may or may not know, San Francisco's Shelter-in-Place Hotel Program is still ongoing. At its height in 2020, the city was leasing 2,288 rooms across 25 sites, both to provide housing to medically vulnerable homeless people, and to provide isolation space for first-responders, physicians, and others who were being exposed to COVID-19 at work and needed space to reside away from their families. Rooms were also made available to individuals who lived in congregate settings needing to isolate during a COVID infection.
The program has served over 3,700 individuals to date, and while it's set to wind down later this year, there are still around 900 people staying in SIP hotels. According to the city's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, 47% of people served by the program have exited it into permanent housing. Another 8% have moved into temporary shelters, including Navigation Centers.
According to the department, 14 hotel sites are still in use as temporary housing.
Owners of some of the participating hotels are apparently unhappy with the condition their buildings were left in — and it stands to reason that with individuals, some of whom are struggling with addiction and mental health issues, living full time in these hotels for a year or more, some wear and tear might have occurred.
As the SF Standard reports, owners of The Good Hotel (112 7th Street), Hotel Vertigo (940 Sutter Street), Hotel Union Square (114 Powell Street), and Tilden Hotel (345 Taylor Street) are in the process of filing lawsuits against the city. Other hotels also may be filing suit as well. The SF Board of Supervisors has scheduled a closed session to address the coming suits during its meeting on June 7.
The filings reportedly claim "significant damage to real and personal property." But the extent and variety of this damage is not yet clear — and the hotels themselves may not want it publicized.
The Hotel Vertigo is currently listed on Google as permanently closed, and the Tilden Hotel is listed as temporarily closed.
The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing saw its budget soar above $1 billion last year, thanks in part to federal funding to address homelessness during the pandemic. The department is also getting new funds thanks to Prop C, which San Francisco voters passed in 2018 — it's a gross-receipts tax on large corporations that is generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually for supportive housing.
With the hotel program ending and other pandemic initiatives already ended, the department's budget comes down next fiscal year by $70 million, to $597 million. 59% of the department's annual budget goes to the acquisition, construction, leasing, and maintenance of supportive housing for the recently or formerly homeless.
Related: SF Plans to Buy Four More Hotels to Shelter Homeless Population