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Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 4/14/20, AM


Housing San Francisco's Homeless / Feeding San Francisco's Hungry

Housing San Francisco's Homeless

Despite calls from activists and city supervisors to house homeless people of all ages in hotel rooms after nearly 100 at a San Francisco homeless shelter were found to be infected, city officials yesterday defended their plan to only house those who qualify.

So far, the city has secured 2,082 hotel rooms across 13 hotels and has already placed some 750 people in rooms. More hotel rooms will be secured on a rolling basis, according to city officials. The city has maintained the rooms will go to homeless people in the shelter system and to single-room occupancy hotel residents who either have tested positive for COVID-19 or may have been exposed; homeless people who are over 60 or have underlying health conditions, regardless if they're living in shelters or on the streets; and first responders who need to quarantine.

However, advocates for the homeless and city supervisors have called on the city to place some 8,000 homeless people in vacant hotel rooms, whether or not they're in the shelter system or are part of a vulnerable population. Mayor London Breed has cited staffing as the biggest challenge in securing hotel rooms for the city's thousands of homeless residents, many of whom have addiction or mental health needs.

Feeding San Francisco's Hungry

The city of San Francisco is creating several programs to support people who are in quarantine but can't access groceries. To help people who are recovering in their homes from COVID-19 and can't rely on friends or family for food, the city has established a call center at the Emergency Operation Center. With a referral from a health provider, callers can get an assessment of their household's food needs by a social worker and then get connected with grocery deliveries, as well as prepared meals for people who don't have access to a kitchen.
Mayor London Breed announced the program, yesterday. And she said that the city will dedicate a million dollars from its response and recovery donation fund to the city's existing food security programs. City health officials expect the number of people who can't afford healthy meals to increase. And the city's food partners have already reported a rise in demand for food.
To help out, the city will deploy about 70 city librarians who have been trained as disaster service workers to work at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank's "pop-up pantry" program, providing groceries to families in need.

Find information about accessing those city programs by calling 311.

That story was produced with support from Bay City News Service.