SF asks public for help in directing homeless to shelters during storm

Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner11 year old Julius Barnes and his mother 52 year old Stephanie Stinson are staying in the Hamilton Family center located in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood while searching for an affordable place to call home.

The City is reaching out to its citizens to help the homeless find their way to shelters to escape from the anticipated large oncoming storm.

Bevan Dufty, The City's homeless czar and director of the city homeless agency HOPE, said San Francisco is expanding shelter services city-wide for the duration of the storm, but is concerned the word may not get out in time.

“We're really pushing on all fronts to provide maximum capacity,” Dufty says. “Several hundred people will have access to shelter.”

There are 1,145 shelter beds in San Francisco, he said, but as of Wednesday's, there were 6,436 homeless in The City; nearly 1,000 counted in the day time were children and youth.

Jenny Friedenbach, director of the Coalition on Homelessness, is concerned for homeless individuals' health if they are left out in the storm.

In the rain, “you see minor health issues turning into a major mess,” she said. “A bad cold could become a chest infection, and easily become pneumonia.”

San Francisco Police Department officers and the Homeless Outreach Team have been out on the streets this week, advising every homeless person they can on how to find shelter fast.

Available shelters include the Gene Friend Recreation Center, MSC South shelters, St. Anthony's Church, St. Boniface church, Mother Brown's shelter in the Bayview, the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, and others to house the homeless during the day and night, throughout the storm.

Homeless advocates are asking San Franciscans to take a moment out of their day, print out information for the homeless, and tell them where they can find shelter.

Other recommendations:

• If you see a homeless person in need of shelter, call the HOT team at 415-734-4233. They're offering transportation to The City's shelters.

• If you have extra tarps, raincoats, blankets or anything to help keep warm, please donate it to a homeless person.

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