The Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted several resolutions during Tuesday’s meeting that aim to protect the homeless population, immigrants, and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
All 11 supervisors voted to adopt the Safe Sleeping Sites resolution that would designate public spaces where homeless residents will be provided with bathrooms, handwashing stations, meals, drinking water, garbage pickup, and janitorial services.
Supervisors are working with the Department of Public Health to determine possible Safe Sleeping Sites in each district. The sites will be designed to allow for “adequate social distancing” between tents.
District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston said that the priority is still to move the homeless population into hotel rooms but that “the city has moved with an inexplicably slow pace” to do so.
“Just this week our mayor has announced her intention to violate the law unanimously passed by this body to ramp up efforts to house homeless people in hotels,” Preston said referring to Mayor London Breed’s remarks during Monday’s press conference.
The problem, however, is that the Mayor is within her rights to disregard the emergency hotel legislation.
“As I have said time and time and time and time, there’s a difference between a goal and what we all desire to do, and what reality is,” the mayor said. “In the age of social distancing, it has been way more challenging than it has ever been to serve an already challenging population.”
On April 14, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed emergency hotel legislation that required the city to secure 8,250 hotel rooms for the homeless population and first responders by April 26.
As of April 27, the city has acquired 2,156 hotel rooms and has accommodated 1,026 vulnerable people and first responders. There are 585 hotel rooms more that are currently in the pipeline.
“Hours matter,” Preston said. “We need to minimize all risks to the best of our ability as we work to get people into individual rooms.”
The Board also unanimously adopted a resolution urging Congress to include the wider immigrant community in the next federal relief package and to protect them from detentions and deportations during the pandemic.
The resolution cited the city’s data tracker showing how communities of color are “disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.”
It also aims to exclude ICE operations and detention centers from receiving federal funding during this time and instead focus government efforts on supporting the immigrant population.
District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin said that although the city has made “some progress” on the data tracker by including data on hospital capacity and hospitalization, the board is “pushing for as much transparency as possible.”
Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt a resolution urging the Department of Public Health to expand the information being disclosed through the city’s COVID-19 data tracker to include a “housing tracker” and data on when test specimens are collected. As it happened, the city announced a tracker on alternative housing this afternoon.
In a separate resolution, Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution that “urges in strongest terms the federal government to not only increase funding” to the Paycheck Protection Program and would ensure that “small businesses in fact have access to the program.”