The Americania Hotel at 121 7th St. is one of the many hotels the city has under contract. Trip Advisor rates vary from $75 a night to more than $300 a night. Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Photo by Lydia Chávez

What is Mayor London Breed’s plan?

That was the recurring query at this afternoon’s virtual press conference hosted by Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Matt Haney, Dean Preston, Shamann Walton, and Aaron Peskin.  

Along with Father Richard Smith of Faith in Action Bay Area and Dr. Michael Snavely of UC San Francisco, the supervisors provided an update on the Emergency Ordinance requiring the acquisition of 8,250 COVID-19 hotel rooms unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors a month ago, and called on the mayor to follow through on that ordinance, or present an alternative solution.

In the month since the Board’s ordinance was passed, limited progress has been made in acquiring more hotel rooms, but also in housing people in the rooms ready for occupancy. Haney said that only 19 more active rooms – rooms ready for occupancy –  were added between April 27 to May 5, bringing the total to 2,175 rooms, up from 2,156 rooms in the previous month. 

And as of Wednesday, only 926 vulnerable unsheltered individuals had been moved off the street and out of shelters and into these hotel rooms. A month ago, that number was at 621, showing that an average of fewer than 80 people have been moved per week. 

Meanwhile, according to Haney, the Department of Homelessness has identified more than 2,200 unhoused people that should be moved into hotels.

And there are almost 700 vacant rooms ready to house new people ready right now, continued Haney, along with an additional 600 designated for frontline workers or people from high-risk communities. But they’re continuing to sit unused. Of all the rooms that the city has on contract and are paying for, not quite half are occupied, he said. 

Without shelters and access to certain basic services, more people are forced to congregate on the sidewalks. Haney noted that, in the Tenderloin, which he represents, the number of people sleeping in tents has increased by more than 300 percent. 

Ronen acknowledged she had been hearing lots of concerns from constituents about the massive encampments set up throughout the Mission District, “where there is no social distancing, there’s no running water, there are no bathrooms, there’s no regular food delivery, there’s basically no services whatsoever.” 

“This is awful, it’s unacceptable, it’s inhumane, and it makes it even more so because we know there are solutions,” said Haney. 

Ronen called on Breed to take action. “We are sick of meaningless press releases and cleverly named programs or initiatives that do nothing,” said Ronen. “What we want, and what we are begging you for, is for action, for change, and for results.”

“That’s what we haven’t seen from your administration, that’s what we have offered to make happen ourselves, and you have refused those offers,” she said. “And so we are asking you today, ‘What is your plan?’”

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7 Comments

  1. This is how I feel about Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney’s endless grandstanding about affordable housing when they actually do the bidding of their rich homeowner constituents and community groups to block all new development (affordable and market rate alike):

    “We are sick of meaningless press releases and cleverly named programs or initiatives that do nothing,” said Ronen. “What we want, and what we are begging you for, is for action, for change, and for results.”

    When they stop blocking Mayor Breed’s efforts to lift height limits for affordable housing across the city, allow Navigation Centers and public restrooms to be built broadly across their districts, expand guardianship programs for the mentally ill who can’t take care of themselves, and do something, anything, that a rich homeowner in their district wouldn’t agree with, I’ll take them seriously on these issues.

    Until then, their fake concern about the homeless is about as laughable as Donald Trump calling himself a feminist.

    1. “ And as of Wednesday, only 926 vulnerable unsheltered individuals had been moved off the street and out of shelters and into these hotel rooms.”
      *off the street and out of shelters*
      HOW MANY people have actually been moved off the street?
      As of today, how many homeless people in SF have been moved from the street into shelter?
      I have been unable to get any answers from the Mayor, the new or old Director of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (really —- is it a complete oxymoron yet?), Supervisor Mandelman or Supervisor Ronen.
      How many hotel rooms are empty? How many are we paying for? How many are paid for by the taxpayers and occupied by front line workers? How many occupied by former shelter residents?
      We are entitled to information. I hope Mission Local can pry it out of them.

  2. Well said.

    During her 2016 campaign, Hillary Ronen promised to create 5,000 affordable housing units within 10 years.

    4 years later, not a single new affordable housing project has been initiated and completed under Ronen’s tenure.

    Whereas during her time in office thus far, Ronen has invested enormous effort attempting to thwart — fortunately without success — numerous market rate projects that included dozens of affordable units — units that, additionally, would not have required a single $ of taxpayer subsidy.

    Hillary Ronen has been both ineffectual and dishonest regarding her campaign promises.

    Ronen needs to go — go down the Peninsula, that is, like her predecessor (and former boss) David Campos and score a cushy $250K/year public sector job in Santa Clara like he did.

  3. Let’s face it: Breed can get a lot of free publicity and claim to be doing something by trotting out pointlessly draconian shiny objects, like requiring masks at 30 feet. The tough work, like dealing with the homeless situation? Not going to happen.

    Allowing her patrons and bosses in the construction industry to go back to work before it’s safe? Mayor Breed’s on it.

    1. Building housing is dealing with the homeless situation. Protesting in front of the mayor’s house while blocking affordable housing and shelter construction isn’t.

  4. Ronen seems to think that most of these homeless were SF residents who are down on their luck – from personal experience I can tell you the vast majority are not.

    They come from everywhere but San Francisco and they keep coming because of the “services” that SF gives out and the lax or absence of laws on sleeping, using, and urinating on public sidewalks in addition to the favorable climate.

    Ronen and her ilk should be called supervisors because they get duped and conned by the homeless industrial complex at every turn. Kudos to Breed for not being a sap.

    Glide Church gives 3 “free” meals a day 364 days a year. St Anthony’s unlimited “free” lunch 365. The efforts are noble in some respects but if there is no accountability to the people provided “free” services then you are ENABLING.

    Ronen and the BOS has not been transparent of where and which hotels these are. And they know darn well these people will NEVER leave these hotels until they pass away. The hotels will be managed by a “non profit” that will eventually try to get in to a HUD RAD program and get subsidized at $2000/m for each room.

    Even if any of these people tried to work, which 90 percent won’t, where could they work and how could they ever afford an unsubsidized studio apartment in SF?

    Meanwhile the contracts and the cronyism continue. Thank goodness FBI has started toppling the dominos of this corrupt racket who call themselves a city government.

    How about this: end overseas and REIT investment in housing in SF – because many of these units sit empty despite being in a perpetual housing crisis.

    How about putting a 25% city income tax for anyone making $100k/year or more so we can start to lower this ridiculous “median”income the city uses to Jack their prices for “affordable” housing.

    How about building more stock instead of a handful per year with an insulting lottery system with long odds?

    If you work in SF but not in tech, not as an attorney, not in city gov, not in biomed – you are toast. And salt in the wounds Ronen and BOS grandstanding about this perpetual con of housing the homeless.

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