Chelsea Crumpler with the Coalition on Homelessness said the efforts for today and the coming days are being coordinated by the Healthy Streets Operation Center (HSOC). The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is helping with transport and outreach.
The bottlenecks around the intake process – such as the time it can take to persuade someone, and the inability to transport more than two individuals at a time – means that only about 20 people are going to be moved every day. And adding to those difficulties is the last-minute scramble because, Crumpler said, it’s the day of that the HOT team finds out the number of rooms to fill, tracks down the people who qualify, and pinpoints a streetcorner for the pickup.
It appears that only about six more people will be transported today. Mark, a supervisor of the HOT team, said the operation will unfold over the next two weeks. He declined to say where they would be focusing next because they don’t want homeless residents from other parts of the city to move into the Tenderloin. There are plans in motion for other parts of the city that need attention. The operation is being done without the help of the police. Sources said earlier in the day that the plan is to move 300 homeless residents into hotel rooms.
As the HOT team works to move people from the streets into the hotels, the residents have to reduce their belongings to two bags. Another difficulty is the limited number of ADA-accessible rooms — apparently there have only been four available in the last month that can accommodate a disabled person. The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is a group of outreach workers who are employed by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.
Nevertheless, the HOT Team is now picking up another six homeless residents at Turk and Hyde Streets.
Jason, a resident, approached the HOT team on the corner and advocated for someone over the age of 65, who he knows. They explained they are only aiding residents of the Tenderloin today, and a HOT supervisor advised Jason to reach back out about the 65-year-old later by text.
Crumpler said that she has been told that eight people have been picked up so far today in the city’s efforts to move as many as 300 homeless residents off the streets in the Tenderloin and into hotel rooms. The city is only sending one van every half hour and only putting one or two people on at a time because of COVID-19 concerns. “And it’s hard because some people wander off,” away from the waiting van, said one DPH worker. A member of the HOT team said that, most likely tomorrow, they will be working at McAllister and Hyde Streets.
A deployment is under way this morning to move perhaps 300 homeless residents off the streets of the Tenderloin and into unused hotel rooms, according to multiple city sources. Just how difficult that would be became clear early on as HOT Team workers tried to convince a couple at Turk and Hyde to step into a van to be transported to the Cova Hotel. According to Chelsea Crumpler
At present, the HOT Team knows of 15 rooms they are trying to fill with individuals or couples. At this time, one individual has boarded the transport bus. His girlfriend, concerned that they may be separated, resisted.
Her partner asked the woman’s mother to call to convince her, but his girlfriend refused to pick up her phone, saying, “That’s not my mother.” The bus left without her and with only the one homeless resident. The HOT Team will most likely follow up with her tomorrow, said one of the HOT workers.
DPH workers on the scene told Mission Local they did not know how many hotel rooms would be used, and that they were surveying the situation on the streets. They will get started, they said, once they know how many hotel rooms are available. As of June 10, the city reported that 308 hotel rooms set aside for homeless and vulnerable populations were unused.
In early May, the city came up with a new plan to deal with the sharp increase in the number of tents in the Tenderloin. That plan was criticized as too little too late —and today’s action comes on the very day Supervisor Matt Haney is holding a hearing on its progress.
Haney said nobody informed him of today’s activities.
The “Tenderloin Plan” was to first focus on 13 blocks with 159 tents, 32 encampments, and 153 individuals, according to an April 22 count that measured the increase since January. Six of those 13 blocks had no homeless services. The April count showed a 71 percent increase in tents citywide and a 285 percent jump in the Tenderloin to 268 tents “including 18 sites with 6 or more tents and structures.”
So far, the city has opened three new safe sleeping sites including a new one on Monday at Everett Middle School.
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