Update: Reversing the direction of the original plan to accommodate the homeless inside the Moscone Center and Palace of Fine Arts, the city has decided to move them to hotel rooms.
Changes occur after Road Sheet published pictures of the Moscone Center sanctuary. The photo shows a thin mat on the floor, which will act as a sleeping area, and the bathroom facilities are too tight.
“Both Moscone and the Palace will not be used for homeless people who are transferred from other shelters,” Trent Rhorer, director of the Human Services Department, told Curbed SF. “Instead, physical distance at the shelter will be achieved by moving vulnerable people from shelter to hotel rooms.”
According to Chronicle of San Francisco“That means the city will need 4,500 hotel rooms expected than the 3,500 originally projected.”
Rhorer went on to say that Moscone West will be used in the future for homeless people who leave quarantine rooms “because they have been tested negative for COVID or they have fully recovered from the virus and have been tested negative.”
At present, the city has eight hotels that are used for homeless residents, with 945 rooms contracted and nearly 200 rooms occupied, he said.
In connection with the COVD-19 outbreak and residential orders, San Francisco has transformed two main structures into homeless relief shelters.
The Moscone Center and the Palace of Fine Arts, each located in the Yerba Buena District and Marina, will temporarily accommodate the homeless to free up space in the city’s shelters and other navigation centers.
Palace of Fine Arts can accommodate 162 people with capacity. “The first 20-25 neighbors were able to come to the Palace earlier this week,” said Superintendent Catherine Stefani who helped secure the 105-year-old building for use as a shelter.
Moscone Center, which usually holds major annual events for Facebook and Salesforce, will hold 390 people on a mat in a large auditorium of the building.
Based on Road Sheet, “An inside source who asked not to be named reported that there are currently no hand washing stations, bathroom facilities are shared and limited, staff do not have Narcan.”
After seeing pictures of the temporary shelter Moscone is on Road Sheet, Advisor Matt Haney criticize it, said, “If this is the layout they use, this seems like a very bad idea.”
Residents in both newfangled setups will be moved from other shelters in the city in an effort to help create a buffer space according to social-distance guidelines.
There is still one big question: What about the thousands of vacant hotel rooms currently available for housing?
Thousands of rooms sit barren today due to a global standstill in tourism. Hotels such as St. Regis, Four Seasons, Intercontinental San Francisco, and Westin Saint Francis have light their windows in the shape of a heart to show concern for the current pandemic – rooms unoccupied because homeless shelters overflowed.
On March 26, the Human Services Agency (HSA) obtained rent for more than 300 hotel rooms for the homeless, according to the Mayor’s Office. The agency also has plans to complete the lease for an additional 3,000 hotel rooms.
Just last week the city rooms are prioritized for homeless residents over 60 years and / or suffer from an underlying health condition.
“Let’s use a hotel room,” Haney said. “Let’s work together.”
Indeed, cities need to work faster – e.g., Prioritize getting people into this hotel room – after the homeless shelter stop accepting new people last week.
On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced an initiative to place homeless people in hotel and motel rooms across the state as part of a plan with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There are a little more than 6,800 rooms that are now state owned. The ultimate goal is to get at least 15,000 empty rooms to use during the pandemic.
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