Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 4/15/20, AM | KALW

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 4/15/20, AM

Apr 15, 2020

Sheltering SF's Unhoused People / San Francisco Pride Canceled

Sheltering SF's Unhoused People 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an emergency ordinance that requires the city to secure over 8,000 hotel rooms in the next two weeks to help people shelter-in-place. Most of those rooms are for people experiencing homelessness. 

The ordinance passed unanimously yesterday evening after a long meeting. But weeks ago, a concerned group of Supervisors began calling for Mayor London Breed to proactively move all unhoused people, regardless of their symptoms or where they are staying, into hotel rooms. They say so far, only a fraction of the city’s unhoused residents have been moved, and the city has been slow to act, even after a huge outbreak at a homeless shelter. 

Partly in response to this pressure and the outbreak, the City has increased the number of hotel rooms they hope to make available for the homeless population. But the Supervisors who sponsored this legislation - Hillary Ronen, Dean Preston, Matt Haney, Aaron Peskin and Shamaan Walton - still think the City can act more urgently, and more broadly. Some of them even started raising money and moved shelters on their own. Supervisor Dean Preston addressing unhoused residents at the meeting:

"I am sorry, deeply sorry that after weeks of warnings, that only the confirmed outbreaks in your shelters spurred the city to move and to move faster. We need to do better, all of us, and there’s no excuse for you having to wait an extra month to be able to follow your city’s shelter in place order ... San Francisco can do amazing things when we want to, and I think we need to show our unhoused residents that we can and will do everything necessary to protect them and everyones health by moving forward with a robust plan to house the unhouse during hotels during this crisis."

While there were some concerns about how the City would afford these rooms while entering a a huge budget deficit, the Supervisors are hopeful that up to 93% of the cost of this could be reimbursed, with help from federal and state sources. 

Mayor London Breed needs to sign the ordinance for it to become a law. If she vetoes it, the supervisors can overturn the veto with eight votes. 

San Francisco Pride Canceled

San Francisco Pride has announced that it is canceling this year’s Parade and Celebration. 

Pride usually takes place in June — it draws over half-a-million people annually, and distributes about two-and-a-half million dollars to regional non-profits and partners after.

In a live-streamed conversation, yesterday, SF Pride President Carolyn Wysinger told Manny Yekutiel that it was one of the saddest and hardest decisions that she’s made in her adult life. "I was definitely, into the idea of postponing. Well, it's back to the city once we were post COVID but we don't know when that's gonna it really be. So, yeah, I mean, there were a lot of things that went into the decision, but also believe holding the community health at heart, um, was the best thing to do."

Instead of an in-person celebration for its 50th anniversary, SF Pride plans to participate in a global virtual pride event on June 27th as well as other celebrations in the spring and summer. 

KALW’s David Boyer contributed to that story.

You can hear KALW’s broadcast of one of Manny’s Super Civic Cyber Conversations this Friday at 5 p.m.