San Francisco officials are stepping up efforts to help some of the city's homeless stay warm and dry during the El Niño-fueled rainstorms.
On Thursday, the city's Human Services Agency set up more than 250 beds in six shelters across the city, including one pop-up shelter, in preparation for the current storm.
“The weather that results from an El Niño is extreme and individuals who have been living on the street, they get sick, and they get sicker when they're constantly wet and cold,” says Human Services Agency Director Trent Rhorer. “It's really a concern for their health.”
So far the city has activated four pop-up rain shelters this winter season in 16 locations. The shelters, which become available as needed when heavy rain is predicted, are concentrated in the Mission, SOMA, Bayview, Tenderloin and Haight neighborhoods. Rhorer says the extra shelters have the capacity to house 1,300 people. The additional beds are open for 24 hours during the storms.
According to Rhorer, the shelters have nothing to do with the upcoming Super Bowl festivities expected to begin next week in San Francisco. That’s despite Mayor Ed Lee’s announcement last August about getting the homeless off San Francisco’s streets in time for the game.