Coalition report slams city shelters

The City’s shelters for the homeless are places of neglect, abuse and overcrowding, according to a report released Wednesday by an advocacy group for the homeless.

A survey of 215 homeless people in and outside of The City’s shelters during a three month period found that more than half experienced some form of abuse — such as physical, verbal or harassment — nearly 25 percent said that shelter staff were rude and neglectful and 27 percent said they had no access to toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, soap or supplies in the bathroom, according to the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco May 2007 report, titled “Shelter Shock.”

Trent Rhorer, director of the Human Services Agency, vehemently defended the conditions of The City’s shelters. “What we’re finding through our own interviews and our own monitoring is far different from what this report is telling us,” Rhorer said.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano said he is “shocked and appalled” by the “barbaric conditions” found in The City’s shelters, and plans on introducing in June legislation requiring minimum standards of shelter conditions.

The report said, “Our homeless shelters should become places that support a transition out of homelessness instead of being the outrageous, fear-and-disease generating places they are today.”

Ammiano said that given the conditions of the shelters it’s no wonder why The City’s homeless population “is not being significantly reduced.”

Mayor’s Office spokesman Nathan Ballard called Ammiano’s claim “absurd.” “San Francisco homelessness is down 38 percent since [Mayor] Gavin Newsom took office,” Ballard said.

The City’s counts of the homeless have identified 8,640 homeless persons in 2002, 6,248 in 2005 and 6,337 in 2007.

“While Mayor [Gavin] Newsom claims homelessness is his No. 1 priority, under his administration, over 260 shelter beds have been lost and conditions in the shelter system have gone ignored,” said Jennifer Friedenbach, the coalition’s organizing director.

Rhorer said that The City has about 1,500 shelter beds. “We may have lost beds, but that discounts the fact we have over 100 vacant beds every night and that we have placed well over 3,400 people in supportive housing.”

Rhorer said he doesn’t “have any problem” about adopting minimum standards, although he expressed concern that the legislation would require improvements without providing the funding need to implement them.

jsabatini@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

Just Posted

People take part in early voting for the November 5 election at City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Electionpalooza: SF school board recall will kick off a flurry of local races

‘It’s going to be a lot of elections and a lot of decisions for voters to make’

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A student carries a protection shield to her next class as part of her school’s COVID-19 safety measures. (Courtesy Allison Shelley/Eduimages)
Projected K-12 drops in enrollment pose immediate upheaval and decade-long challenge

State forecasts 11.4% fewer students by 2031 — LA and Bay Area to be hit hardest

Most Read