Plan would renovate vacant public housing units for homeless people

Image based on a photograph by the SF Examiner's Mike Koozmin of Mike, a homeless man who sleeps on sidewalks in the Tenderloin.

Sup. London Breed has proposed setting aside city funding to renovate vacant and dilapidated San Francisco Public Housing units, in an effort to quickly make housing available for homeless families in the face of a dire shortage.

At the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s meeting on April 15, Breed called for the city controller and city attorney to begin drafting a supplemental appropriation of $2.6 million, to be put toward renovating 172 public housing units that are currently sitting vacant and in disrepair. 

Tragedy struck at Sunnydale, the Housing Authority’s largest housing development, today [Wed/16] when a 32-year-old woman and her 3-year-old son were killed in a blaze that started early this morning. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but a report in SFGate noted that the Housing Authority has planned on rebuilding Sunnydale for years due to its poor condition.

“There are over 40 public housing developments in San Francisco, and given the decades of mismanagement and financial neglect that public housing has endured, many units are currently not available for San Franciscans to live in,” Breed said. “As we grapple with an unprecedented affordability crisis and an acute shortage of housing, particularly affordable housing, these fallow public housing units represent one of our best and cheapest opportunities to make housing available now.”

Breed, who represents District 5, previously lived in San Francisco public housing. “Living in public housing for over half of my life has given me a perspective unlike, I think, anybody else that I know, to understand exactly what we need to do as a city to make a difference in the lives of those constituents,” she said.

She mentioned that between 25 and 50 homeless families stay in a church every night that has been converted to a shelter in her district – but there are no showers there, “only a few toilets and sinks that those families can use.” 

As the Guardian has previously reported, homeless people enrolled in public services frequently discover that very little permanent housing is available – even though the Department of Public Health, the Human Services Agency, and the San Francisco Housing Authority all oversee programs that were created to assist individuals who are in need of housing.

As things stand, about 175 homeless families remain on a wait-list for housing, homeless czar Bevan Dufty told the Bay Guardian in a recent interview. And more than 300 other homeless individuals have applied for housing assistance through the Department of Public Health’s Direct Access to Housing program, which provides subsidized housing in SROs and apartments.

The San Francisco Housing Authority receives its funding not through the city, but through U.S. Housing and Urban Development, a federal agency. However, Housing Authority spokesperson Rose Marie Dennis said federal funding doesn't stretch far enough for the agency to perform routine restoration of vacant units that have fallen into disrepair. “We have to work with the resources that we have,” she said.

According to an analysis by Budget & Legislative Analyst Harvey Rose, the city has lost $6.3 million in rent that could have been collected had empty Housing Authority units been occupied.

“From our perspective, we share the supervisor’s commitment to prioritizing the housing of the homeless,” Dennis said, adding that the Housing Authority would be “very grateful” for any support the city would lend toward renovation.

Gene Gibson, a HUD spokesperson, said that it was too early to comment specifically on Breed’s proposal since it was still in the early stages of being drafted. But in general, “If a community comes up with an innovative approach … I don’t think HUD would have any problem with it.”


gets that money?

Who is being stiffed so the homeless can get even more money?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

Guess the potholes in the streets will get worse, just so SF can become one big homeless camp.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 7:14 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 7:41 pm

Living for the moment without a moment's thought for tomorrow seems to be a pattern not just for Breed's homeless constituents but for the agencies and politicians that are supposed to be helping them as well.

Splurge, build more free housing, get votes, and worry about who maintains it all later. Are there ever any grownups in the room?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

the more homeless will come to SF.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 5:43 am

I withdrew $1,000 from the bank today, tore up the notes, and threw them in the garbage.

Posted by Chromefields on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 5:51 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... yes the politics of SHORT MEMORY ... don't we expect the BANKERS to pay for their part in the meltdown yet don't question how and why SFHA got sooo bad for soo long and why? If I remember correctly during the Willie Brown Administration were government funds NOT sought out ? Wasn't the funding applied for tooo late? What about the lawsuit that was found against SFHA that only climbed since it was not timely paid? Yes, while I appreciate the picture portrayed ... how, why, who is at fault for this picture being this way?

While I am glad that MY supervisor is looking into this ... why NO CONTACT when I went in to show evidence videos etc of failures? They would show just what you get from DPH, SFPD, Sheriff, etc and and and and and yes I know IT IS MY FAULT for expecting correct follow up ... I mean they do want to CORRECT?

As far as SFHA ask yourself ... was it NOT a plan to let it get this far (not fixed since Brown, Newsom , etc) just so that later a CHAMPION can arrive and PERHAPS never asking the correct question (how and who and why did it get this way?) For me a CHAMPION investigates, correlates, assigns fault, attempts correction and accountability, etc. Will this happen for me or like my cases (see above videos ... or will they fall by the wayside while CHAMPIONING elsewhere?

Mind you I still await contact. My plan is for accountability, transparency, and humanity.

While you are at it look at the other supervisor videos such as KIM and WEINER.

Keep Drinking the Kool-Aid.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 10:06 am

Now please plan your suicide - the Golden Gate Bridge still doesn't have a barrier. Go down in history!!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

Thank goodness people are FINALLY doing something about the actual problem of homelessness - you can't get a homeless person back into society, get them a job, or get them off drugs or alcohol until they have a HOME. Get them a HOME and then they can start rehabilitation.

This is what states such as Utah have started doing with amazing results.

It turns out it's cheaper to make homes available to homeless people than it is to try to treat them on the streets. Why? Medical costs. If a homeless person drinks themselves into a stupor to stay warm and hurts themselves, it costs a lot more than the cost of keeping them in a home where they don't drink as much.

This is a real solution and I'm glad we're finally addressing it.

Posted by bassguitarhero on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 10:45 am

because as soon as you start doing that, every other town in the US sends their homeless people to SF.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 11:04 am

every other town in the US *already* sends their homeless to SF.

Most homeless don't want to be homeless and if you give them a leg up they'll get back into the work world and take care of themselves.

The real problems are the ones who've been homeless forever and need to get in a home just to get off the street before you can start to fix them.

In other words, most of the people who could get into a home through this program will transition out as quickly as they can, but it also gives a place to go for the chronic homeless who just don't have the ability to pull themselves together.

For example, I like to have a few beers at the little shamrock on 9th/Lincoln and there's a few homeless people that stay in the cove next door, they're chronic, they're addicted to bunches of drugs and it's unlikely they'll ever be sober enough to pull themselves together, but if they have somewhere to live at least they won't be pissing/crapping/bleeding/fighting right next to where I'm trying to enjoy a beer and a giants game

Posted by bassguitarhero on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 11:44 am

they will somehow magically morph into productive workers and taxpayers.

These people cannot be saved. They are mostly either mentally ill, drug addicted or ex cons. Often all three.

As you say, other cities send their homeless to SF. That is what has to stop. And if we cannot stop them sending them here then we need to stop the reason why they do that in the first place - the fact that we are far more generous than those other places.

If we must create a place for them, let's build it far away from where decent hard-working people and families live.

Say, West Oakland.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

People don't "magically" morph into taxpayers, it is a process. The first step towards getting a job is being sober, being clean, having clean clothes, and having a mailing address. If you don't have those four things right off the bat, you're not getting hired.

Homeless people cannot start on the path to becoming productive until they are homed.

It would be great if other cities would stop sending their homeless here. That's not going to happen. So we need to deal with the problem we *actually* have and not the problem we *want* to have.

Posted by bassguitarhero on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

The city won some kind of claim against Sparks, Nevada for doing that.

But mostly we stop them by stopping treating homeless folks like royalty. If our handouts were worse than other cities, then we would not have a homeless problem.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

The handouts don't matter, other cities send their homeless here not for our services but because it's a temperate climate where people won't freeze or bake to death living on the street.

Sheriffs in other cities are essentially buying one-way greyhound tickets for chronic homeless in their neighborhoods and then ship them out. Suing the city won't do anything to stop that - the tickets are voluntary. The Nevada case was a hospital putting patients on a bus without their consent, that approach won't work for say a sheriff in Tucson who offers a homeless person either a week in jail or a free bus ticket to SF.

Posted by bassguitarhero on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

The more who come here, the less each gets.

It's self-correcting

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

Jason Grant Garza here ... the city won against Nevada for Patient Dumping? That is news to me ... where is the verdict?

The reason I ask is because I won an "EMTALA" or patient Dumping Statue against the city in 2007 where the city admits fault and guilt for breaking the law YET why when I go to follow up with the city attorney (watch the youtube videos under Jason Garza - close to 400) I am escorted out of the building by Sheriff deputies. When I ask specifically about this I become in their interpretation a disruption (you guess because I am trying to hold them accountable) giving them the pretext to have me illegally escorted out as opposed to performing. The videos are on youtube under Jason Garza.

The reason I bring this up is because DPH is still not treating me as required by law and under law; however, when you can break federal law in 2001 and have my case ( C02-3485PJH ) dismissed in 2003 with fraud and testiying ONLY to sign a confession admitting fault and guilt in 2007 to the Office of Inspector General and it is now 2014 and NO ONE has explained ... it is a "strange" GLORIFYING that SF won when I who have a signed confession CAN NOT get an answer nor remedy nor humanity nor even medical care for the law breaking activity continues ...

Keep Drinking the Kool-Aid

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 10:00 am

your suicide notice - when are you going to get around to offing yourself? There are so many creative ways to do it Jason. You could really make a mark.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

Aren't their folks that are currently on the SFHA list to receive housing. Many of these folks have families and are also low-income. What happens to them?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 11:59 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

just more money for rich Contractors who own and operate the politicians!!!
it is welfare for rich contractors!

how many dollars are spent per homeless person and of those $$ how much do contractors and beurocrats get, and how much do politicians get for so called campaign donations from contractors?

Posted by sftparty on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 9:21 am

The word "HELP" implys that the person your helping is doing something.

Here's a plan

Each of the most die hard do gooders wanting to (so call) "HELP" the homeless should bring one into their own home.

It would save millions in tax payer money, and the people that are the most caring, the most thoughtful, can feel really good about the good they are doing.

Posted by Bill on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

How about housing all those low income persons who have jobs or house the people that are facing evictions, so many other people need housing. I feel bad for some of those who have paid rent for 30 years and got evicted.

The City and County of San Francisco is sitting on 172 or more empty units.

Posted by Garrett on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

Where is the (most) informed, reasonable-solution-oriented discussion happening, about what to do for bay area street and other homeless people, in terms of structural fixes, that will solve their and our problem?
(It's a problem for us too, since that glaring an inequality feels awful to experience when there's nothing real you can do about it, and it results in civic corrosion.)

What cities have successful homeless policies? (Not just being able to house vets, but being able to ensure that everyone has a home.) What other factors could we compromise on, in order to make this happen at a cost that's feasible? How is Portland's Dignity Village doing, and how successful have efforts to replicate it been?

Posted by Fix on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

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