Two San Francisco supervisors have introduced legislation that would require the city to expand its system of safe sleeping sites for homeless people. The city first opened the sanctioned tent villages in May, as the pandemic forced shelters to limit the number of people they could take, and more people began sleeping on sidewalks in crowded encampments.
If Supervisors approve the proposal, it would mandate enough new safe sleeping sites to accommodate 500 people within nine months. Within 18 months, the city would need to have enough sites for anyone without access to a permanent supportive housing unit, shelter bed or hotel room. While the current number of unhoused people in San Francisco is unknown, the city's 2019 point-in-time count found about 8,000 homeless people.
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced the proposal along with Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer.
Mandelman says the sleeping sites the city has already set up have been successful alternatives to shelters and sidewalks for unhoused people during the coronavirus pandemic.
“They are places where folks can set up tents. They're managed. They have port-a-potties and sometimes showers and services, regular cleaning, 24 hour 24/7 staff.”