This emergency ordinance will devote $180 million toward ensuring protection for a vulnerable population, slow the spread of the virus in the city, and send needed funding to an industry whose business and workforce has been decimated over the past several months.
By an 11-0 vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has authorized the securing of 8,250 hotel rooms, along with associated food, cleaning, and security, by April 26 to facilitate temporary quarantine housing for the city’s homeless population, as well as front-line health-care and homeless-services workers.
The city has seen rising numbers of cases in the area homeless and an outbreak in a local shelter. This arrangement would allow those who have tested positive with the Coronavirus to isolate when that otherwise would not be possible due to their current living circumstances. According to the ordinance,
The approximately 8,035 San Francisco residents experiencing homelessness have no realistic way to comply with social distancing and personal hygiene protocols when living in encampments and congregate facilities such as shelters, navigation centers, and single room occupancies (“SROs”). Communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, have the potential to spread quickly through homeless encampments and congregate facilities, due in part to the close proximity of people in these settings and the lack of adequate sanitation. Many City shelters house more than 100 people, with a current minimum distance between beds of only 22 inches, making it difficult, if not impossible, for residents to comply with social
75% of the costs of the program will be covered by funding from FEMA, and the state Office of Emergency Services is considering covering almost another 20% of the program costs.