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SF To Lease 7,000 Hotel Rooms For Emergency Shelter

David Seibold / Flickr Creative Commons


San Francisco plans to spend about $35 million to house first responders and homeless individuals in hotel rooms during the coronavirus crisis.



The San Francisco Controller said yesterday that the city will pay an average of about $200 per room, per night for the next three months. That estimate includes the cost of support services like cleaning and security.


The estimate was based on the 2,000 hotel rooms that San Francisco has already rented or is about to rent. But the city plans to lease about 5,000 more, roughly tripling the anticipated cost. The federal government is expected to reimburse the city for about half of these expenses.


The announcement comes after the city opened a massive shelter at the Moscone Center. Homeless advocates and others decried the plan by Mayor London Breed to concentrate people without homes in these facilities with limited bathrooms and no handwashing stations.


The Board of Supervisors also took issue with that plan. A group of them introduced legislation on Tuesday to require the city to rent over 8,000 hotel rooms for those who need housing.


Supervisor Ronen said yesterday that they’ve found a way to bring the cost down to about half of the Controller’s projected rate, by working with existing shelter providers. She said that model could help the city reduce its spending from the current estimate.

Ozzy Llinas Goodman is a freelance writer and journalist based in Berkeley. Their reporting interests include the uses and policing of public space, underground communities and solidarity economies, and other topics related to human movement, urban space, and civil rights.