Supervisors want to require safe sleeping sites to accommodate every homeless person

At least two supervisors want to mandate The City provide safe sleeping sites for every homeless person who has no...

At least two supervisors want to mandate The City provide safe sleeping sites for every homeless person who has no other access to shelter within 18 months.

Legislation introduced Tuesday by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman with the support of Supervisor Sandra Fewer would make it city policy “to ensure that every person experiencing homelessness in San Francisco has a safe place to sleep overnight.”

To that end, the legislation would require that the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing provide a network of temporary so-called Safe Sleeping Sites to accomodate the thousands of homeless persons The City has no room to place in permanent supportive housing or other shelter like hotels and Navigation Centers.

Safe Sleeping Sites are sanctioned outdoor camping spaces for unsheltered people that provide some amenities and services. The City has recently opened several, including one in the Civic Center, one in the Tenderloin and one on Stanyan Street, among others.

“In San Francisco, in 2020, no one should have to spend the night in a tent on a median or curled up in a doorway,” Mandelman said in a statement. “Despite investing billions of dollars in addressing homelessness over the years, we have never taken responsibility for the many thousands of unhoused people who can still not access a supportive housing unit, shelter bed, or hotel.”

He said his proposal, “A Place for All,” will “ensure that all unhoused people have a safe place to spend the night so that no one has to camp on our streets, and that no neighborhood has to offer up its sidewalks as shelter of last resort.”

The legislation doesn’t change The City’s priority to place homeless persons in permanent supportive housing.

Within 60 days of the law going into effect, the department would have to submit a plan to the mayor and Board of Supervisor to open enough Safe Sleeping Sits to serve 500 homeless people within nine months and a plan to open up the rest of the sites to serve the others who need them.

The plan would identify costs and the contracting process that the department would adhere to for groups to operate the sites.

There are specific requirements for each site including they must accommodate up to 150 people and remain open to them for at least the hours of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The department would also have to plan for persons leaving the site to not return to the street and provide transportation to and from the sites.

The legislation is expected to undergo a public hearing by a board committee after 30 days.

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