The standoff between local lawmakers and San Francisco’s mayor around housing the homeless continued Tuesday as a group of city supervisors held a press conference to denounce the mayor’s efforts.
The city missed a deadline on Sunday that the Board of Supervisors set two weeks ago. The board's emergency legislation said that the city should secure 7,000 hotel rooms for the homeless, and just over a thousand for frontline workers.
The fight highlights the ongoing challenge cities face in managing the coronavirus outbreak.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Monday during a city press conference that the supervisor’s plans aren’t practical, and the city is struggling to ramp up in a safe way. So far, the city has only managed to fill half of the 2,000 hotel rooms its leased.
The constraint, Breed notes, is getting enough people to staff hotels 24/7, as well as ensuring proper social distancing and delivering meals.
“We will continue to do everything we can to provide as many hotel rooms as we possibly can,” she said, “but we have to also do so responsibly.”
A couple of doctors from the Do No Harm Coalition, homeless advocates, San Francisco Supervisors Matt Haney of District 6 and Dean Preston of District 5 Hillary Ronen of District 9, and Shamann Walton of District 10 held a Zoom press conference Tuesday to denounce the mayor for not complying with the emergency legislation.
"We have also now been told, and this is the latest excuse, that they can't staff these hotels, that there aren't enough people available to come in and work in the hotels and provide services," Haney said during the call. "The truth is that yes, this is hard, yes, this is complicated, but yes, this is absolutely doable. And we have to do it. What is missing right now is a plan to actually execute and implement a staffing plan to ramp up quickly, and what they're doing now is not going to work."
He said that the supervisors are sending a memo to the Mayor's office with instructions on how to proceed with implementing the emergency ordinance.
"We're not dismissing some of the arguments that we've heard in response, but the alternative is absolutely unimaginable," Haney said. "It's dangerous. It's reckless, and right now it's against the law. So follow the law. Mayor Breed and department heads, and we provided you today with a blueprint of how to do that with a set of 10 recommendations and solutions around staffing."