By Lovepreet Dhinsa
SAN FRANCISCO – Progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said he supports Supervisor Connie Chan and the structural reforms towards increasing availability of resources for unhoused individuals in San Francisco.
Boudin showed his support on Twitter, along with Supervisor Matt Haney who wrote a letter demanding explanation to Abigail Stewart-Kahn, the director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.
The number of permanent supportive housing units are apparently sitting empty, despite the city’s regulations in November 2019 to have 3 percent availability.
The permanent housing units were intended to allow the city to create more space for unhoused individuals; however, it does seem like there was any real enforcement, according to critics.
In the breakdown of this data, a member of the Local Homeless Coordinating Board, Salvador Menjivar, stated that there 766 permanent supportive housing vacancies at the start of February.
Out of the 766 vacancies, 247 were termed as “pending placements,” which would be processed with additional paperwork. Another 294 were “temporarily offline” due to a variety of reasons. The remaining 255 were ready to be filled.
Some critics of Stewart-Kahn say she has diverted the attention from her to show that unhoused individuals were at fault, because of a lack of swiftness in responding to offers of vacancy.
However, critics also note Stewart-Kahn and the department failed to take into account that not all housing units include resources necessary for certain unhoused individuals, and many placements require a physical copy of social security cards, which are difficult to obtain in the middle of a pandemic.
An emergency ordinance supported by Boudin and proposed by Haney and others endeavors to increase the placement of unhoused individuals into these permanent supportive housing units and replace the current policy, which homeless advocates charges undermines the ability of unhoused individuals to move into housing until September, when the shelter-in-place hotels are closed.
Unhoused supporters see the unhoused population’s ability to move into permanent supportive housing units in San Francisco, instead of sleeping on the streets for another few months during the pandemic, is based on the support of Boudin and supervisors, like Haney, Chan and their capacity to pass this ordinance.
The ordinance is set to be heard next month on March 2 by the full Board of Supervisors.
Lovepreet Dhinsa is a junior undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Politics with a minor in Legal Studies. She has a passion for criminal defense law, and strives to go to law school to fight for indigent clients. As such, she is also involved in her university’s mock trial program and student government.
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