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Hundreds of housing units for homeless people remain empty

Sharon Wickham, San Francisco Public Press
At the Bel-Air Hotel in the Tenderloin, records show that 28 of its 59 residential rooms were vacant. The owner reportedly balked at leasing rooms to the city because of the costs of upgrades and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act


The latest edition of the San Francisco Public Press includes a story about one possible solution to homelessness — hotels.

SROs, to be exact, or single-room occupancy hotels. Hotels that rent out rooms by the week or month to low income San Francisco resident are often thought of as a first step out of homelessness.


Longtime San Francisco journalist Joe Eskenazi wrote the cover story "No Vacancy for the Homeless," examining how hundreds of rooms in SRO hotels remain vacant while people live on the streets. Eskenazi explores the reasons why these rooms are not occupied, especially when so many people need them.



"Hotels are routinely 10 and 15 percent empty in this city . . . but that's not crazy. However, if you talk about them in terms of housing which they are by de facto . . . then that's a glaring number."



Click the audio player above to listen to the full story.