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Residents at ‘safe parking’ site petition for tenants union

'Camp Dismal' site in 2021, prior to becoming the Vehicle Triage Center
Wikimedia Commons User: Picasa
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'Camp Dismal' site in 2021, prior to becoming the Vehicle Triage Center

The Vehicle Triage Center at Candlestick opened in January 2022, in what seemed like an easy fix to a complex problem. People living in RVs and vans would have somewhere to park that was safe and legal, and access to city resources, like permanent housing placement.

But two years into this temporary solution, the problems are growing for the folks that are using the space, and expenses have ballooned.

And since the center began as a "low barrier navigation center,” it wasn’t subject to a comprehensive environmental assessment of the site, under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Residents at the site have dubbed it 'Camp Dismal' and are upset about a long list of issues. Specifically, they say they are being terrorized by an infestation of rats and complain that there hasn’t been a reliable supply of electricity.

They say they’re concerned about how they are being classified. According to the city’s Department of Homelessness & Supportive Services, the Vehicle Triage Center is a temporary shelter program, with 'clients,' who are not considered tenants and do not have tenants' rights.

While the site was originally envisioned to host 155 vehicles, the lack of power has limited occupancy to just 35. In the first year of operation, the city spent 170-thousand dollars per resident.

I was born and raised in San Francisco and grew up in SF Unified, listening to KALW. An avid traveller and cultural adventurer, I spent the 15 years leading up to the 2020 pandemic running youth hostels around the Bay Area and exploring as much as possible. More recently I've completed my MA at SF State in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts. I'm passionate about culture and community, and believe joy and pleasure are radical routes to social progress.