3061 16th St. Photo by Julian Mark, 2019.

Being a teenager is hard enough without being homeless. Now, thanks to a state grant, dozens of youths who may have worried about where to sleep will find a home in the Mission. 

The city will buy and convert the Eula Hotel, at 3061 16th St. near Rondel Place, into permanent supportive housing slated for youth who have “aged out” of foster care, recently left the criminal justice system, or who struggle to “make a successful transition to adulthood,” according to Mayor London Breed. 

This will be the first building in the Mission purchased through Homekey, a state initiative that funds localities to buy hotels, motels, or vacant buildings and turn them into permanent homes for the homeless. 

The area surrounding 16th Street is no stranger to housing aimed at more vulnerable populations, and has a high concentration of Single Room Occupancy hotels. One, a block away from the Eula Hotel, is located on Julian Avenue; go one more block to Wiese Street and you’ll find one whose tenants were displaced recently, following a debris fire outside of Taqueria Los Coyotes

The Eula Hotel, a building more than 100 years old, used to be a Single Room Occupancy hotel. It got a major renovation from owner Sam Devdhara in 2019, causing some to speculate the rooms would turn into tech dorms. A mailman at the Eula told Mission Local on Thursday that the hotel hasn’t had tenants for in least a year. Nevertheless, he slipped envelopes through the front door.

The most recent permits for the address were pulled in 2020 for plumbing and heating inspections. It’s unclear when the hotel would begin accepting tenants.

Once it’s ready, the Eula will offer 25 units and services through Dolores Community Street Services and Larkin Street Youth Services. 

The number of homeless youth in San Francisco has been declining, but about 400 were homeless in 2019, according to the 2019 Point-In-Time Count, a count of homeless San Franciscans that takes place each year. 

“Young people deserve to be set up for success, not failure,” states a 2016 city report about transition age youth (TAY) needs. Providing stable resources like homes, substance-abuse and mental-health services, and high-quality education, allows youth “to create a foundation on which to grow.”

California gave San Francisco $7.5 million for the sale, through the Homekey program.

Multiple former mayors, including now-Gov. Gavin Newsom and the late Ed Lee, have strived to ramp up the city’s housing stock for at-risk youth. Breed, too, is adding this project to her Homelessness Recovery Plan, which aims to purchase 1,500 units of permanent supportive housing. 

“We know that expanding permanent supportive housing will lead to real opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in our city to live a fuller, healthier life,” Breed said in a statement. 

Homekey is an initiative launched in 2020 under Newsom to make a dent in the state’s chronic homelessness problem. So far, the program has earmarked billions across several California counties, and enabled San Francisco to scoop up three other sites to become permanent housing. In 2020, the city received $76.9 million to buy and convert the Diva and Granada hotels through Project Room Key. A site at 1321 Mission St. went for $54.7 million the following year. 

“State funds are a key component in growing our permanent supportive housing portfolio and advancing our mission to make homelessness in San Francisco rare, brief and one-time,” said Shireen McSpadden, the executive director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing in a statement.

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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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5 Comments

  1. All young people have it so much harder today. I was in college at 18 (and won’t depress youngsters by saying what tuition, room and board were half a century ago) but my classmates who went out to work could easily afford at least a shared apartment on pretty much any full time job. These kids have it so much harder to begin with and really do need transitional housing.

  2. This project was dropped onto 16th St without any neighborhood notice or request for input.One meeting took place – the community was not notified, and the meeting consisted entirely of the city’s Dept of Homelessness and “stakeholders” (nonprofits that want to operate this shelter).

    As a longtime resident near Dolores Park, I am not happy about this. I believe that it will bring only more crime, drugs, and trouble to the area. But the city has long stopped caring about what its taxpayers want.

  3. This is a good start. I’ve often thought of the plight of foster kids who have no families to fall back on. At 18, I had my first fulltime job that paid enough for me to get my own apartment. A tiny furnished Nob Hill studio for $72.50 a month despite my making a minimum wage. None of this is possible today. I would hope along with the housing that support with job hunting and money management is included.

  4. I’m so glad this is happening! Having a home is the first step to living with stability and dignity. It’s exhausting to not have it otherwise.

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