Mark Sanchez in 2008

The president of the San Francisco Unified School District board plans to propose next week that the district offer at least one of its campuses as one of the city’s first-ever approved tent camps for homeless people.

The move is in response to Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s Tuesday resolution urging the Board of Supervisors to support the concept, which would provide occupants bathrooms, tents and other amenities while enabling them to socially distance to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“To me, I would be confused as to why we wouldn’t want to do this,” said School Board President Mark Sanchez, who co-sponsored the policy resolution with Vice President Gabriela Lopez. The resolution is expected to be posted today in accordance with guidelines requiring policy initiatives to be announced 72 hours in advance of board meetings.  READ MORE.

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6 Comments

  1. School yards would make a good temporary site. We’ll also need sites that can go into next fall, because if social distance is needed, sidewalk camping needs to end.

  2. I get it. The buildings are empty and they are a resource.
    However…the sites are zoned for education. They are for children and teenagers.
    This would be an unfair possession of the schools by adults.
    City college sites? Ok. Makes some sense. SFUSD sites? No way.
    Homeless youth of SFUSD and their parents? Maybe.

    Give the kids some respect. They are already out of touch with their schools and friends.
    School communities are already under extreme stress.
    How would they feel seeing their school being used as a campground?
    I do not understand how school board members can’t see this. Please think on this a bit more…

    1. I imagine they’d feel quite good about it. SFUSD places an emphasis on social justice and re-deploying resources in an emergency is a positive example of that. Plus, schools have features that are crucial for making this work. Small-sized, deconcentrated campsites need wide, open, flat spaces to place tents. And while the main interior spaces would not be used for housing, there are specific features that are useful for servicing the tent campers, including bathrooms and showers. Kitchens and cafeterias can be used to stage the distribution of meals outside. The in-place utilities can be repurposed to help the campers with electricity and fresh drinking water. Handwashing stations with actual running water would be far more effective than festival-style ones. And yes, we should also use SFSU and City College sites for this. Because getting people off the streets is going to be essential for public health moving forward. But if the intent is to provide only a few sites to virtue signal, and leave most people out on the sidewalk as normal, then it is probably not worth it. Let’s hope The City can get real about this.

    2. Another way of looking at it
      School yards are used many times for other endeavors…parking for churches, paid parking for special events, Christmas tree sales, etc…

      Using the schoolyards as one way of reducing the risk of COVID infections (without which the city won’t be able to reopen – cause even homeless with COVID will be included in counts) is a good lesson for students of any age about community.

    3. I agree. Takes one hidden away stash of fentanyl found months later to kill a child. It’s expected in other places but not a school. Dolores Park already has infrastructure for this range of street behaviors. The park staff have already seen it all. Put them on the lawn. I wrote this to Mandelman. This school board president is thinking only about how progressive he’ll look for newspaper. He doesn’t understand the reality of what actually happens in streets. Very naive.

  3. We would much better serve the homeless community by finding open space that could continue. Creating tent sites with services is the best idea because it looks and sounds like the homeless like tents. Find spaces that could allow continual service.

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