Legislation calls for more neighborhoods to provide homeless services

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim Tuesday introduced legislation calling for homeless services to be distributed more evenly across The City.

In issuing her call for geographic equity, Kim noted that while homelessness is a citywide and statewide crisis, more than 60 percent of the city’s homeless shelters are located within her district, District 5, which includes the South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods.

Concentrating services in those neighborhoods and in areas such as the Mission District and Bayview makes it harder for homeless people to access services and concentrates poverty in certain neighborhoods, Kim said.

District 6 residents, Kim said:

“… are some of the most compassionate and generous people in the City – but we need to see the rest of the City really lean in and help get folks safely off the street and onto known pathways to stable housing that we know work.”

The city has recently opened two new Navigation Centers, flexible shelters linked to services, and has several others in the works.

However, efforts to find sites for shelters, homeless services and supportive housing projects often run into issues with both land costs and neighborhood opposition.

Most recently, a deal negotiated by Supervisor Hillary Ronen to place a temporary homeless shelter at a Mission District site set to be redeveloped into housing next year was met with an angry and vocal response from neighbors who feared it would bring more crime into the area.

Ronen faced down the opposition with the backing of Mayor Ed Lee, and at a meeting last week urged other supervisors to do the same in their districts.

Despite the opposition, Kim today cited figures from a recent Chamber of Commerce poll indicating 77 percent of respondents would support Navigation Centers in their neighborhoods.

The most recent city figures suggest there are around 6,500 or more homeless people in San Francisco, and only around 1200 shelter beds.

The waiting list maintained by the city for emergency shelter beds currently has more than 1,100 people on it.