Government grants allow the purchase of two hotels in order to continue to find housing for people with homelessness
San Francisco is promoting the construction of permanent homeless shelters.
The city bought the Hotel Diva using a $ 29.1 million stake and awarded a US $ 45 million grant to the Granada Hotel with the intention of converting these buildings into permanent supporting housing. These purchases are all part of Mayor London Breed’s Homelessness Restoration Program It announced this in July 2020 in order to create up to 6,000 housing agencies for people with homelessness within the next two years.
The Homelessness Restoration Program proposes the largest one-time permanent home expansion in San Francisco in 20 years.
Joe Molica, a representative with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said the pandemic had helped uniquely fuel progress in finding better solutions to solve the housing crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created new funding avenues and new and creative ways to keep our vulnerable neighbors safe,” Molica said. “First and foremost, I think of the places and villages for safe sleep. We were also able to buy two hotels with the state Project Homekey funding, which will be converted into Permanent Supportive Housing. “
Safe sleeping places and villages are city designated zones where people can sleep in tents away from the sidewalks while staying socially separated from each other. San Francisco currently has six active locations that provide 24/7 access to garbage and hygiene services, as well as trauma-informed behavioral health services.
Shortly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom launched the Project Roomkey program to help cities find shelter-in-place hotels for the homeless. The cost of maintaining this program wasn’t cheap, however, costing San Francisco about $ 15 million a month. Under the Trump administration, the city was reimbursed only 75% of its spending on this program.
The City of San Francisco bought Hotel Diva as part of their Homekey project to house the homeless. Around $ 29 million went into converting the hotel into a permanent animal shelter in the Lower Nob Hill district on February 5, 2020. (Amalia Diaz / Golden Gate Xpress)
President Joe Biden’s administration has pledged to fully reimburse local governments for their housing programs by September 30, 2021 so that the city can continue to support the program without fighting for money.
Following the success of Project Roomkey, the state continued the program into its next progressive phase known as Project Homekey. Project Homekey is a $ 600 million program calling on local governments to buy hotels and build permanent housing for people with homelessness.
According to Deborah Bouck, Head of HSH Communications, one goal of permanent housing support is to encourage rehabilitation so that people don’t get left on the streets. The Driving the initiative is a program that helps people who are ready to move out of permanent support shelter by helping them gain access to federal housing vouchers and find new homes.
“It is always our goal to help people get back on their feet – that is the core of our mission to make homelessness rare, short and unique,” said Bouck.
The homelessness crisis is far from resolved, but the number of people being housed has increased. According to City dataThere are around 2,220 people who have benefited from the Shelter-in-Place program.
While the future expansion for permanent supportive housing in San Francisco sounds promising, Bianca Beverina, who works for Raphael House, a nonprofit that supports low-income families affected by homelessness, believes the city will do better with helping the homeless Population can handle it in this day and age.
Beverina hopes the city will also focus on adequate mental health programs and find permanent supportive housing for people in need.
“I can’t say that I’ve seen changes,” said Beverina. “There are more resources now because of the pandemic, but it definitely doesn’t clean the streets of Sutter and Polk. The whole area felt the same way. “