It's been two days since we broke news that Sharper Future, a sexual offender rehabilitation organization, was planning on moving into the former Out of the Closet space at 100 Church St. Since then conversations in our story's comments and across social media have run rampant, with many raising safety concerns, and questioning if this is the best location for this type of facility.
Now, it appears that plans for the rehab center may be put on pause, as District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener calls for better community outreach.
Some background: the building is owned by Maitri, a hospice center for those suffering from HIV and AIDS. Residential care facilities are located on the second floor of 100 Church St, and the organization rents out the ground-level space to raise funds for their operation. Maitri worked with a real estate team to select Sharper Future for the space.
Supervisor Wiener sent a letter to Maitri's Executive Director Michael Smithwick yesterday, stating that "when Maitri informed my office of the possibility of Sharper Future moving into 100 Church Street, we made clear that community outreach should occur before any final decisions were made."
While Wiener voices his support for the work that Sharper Future does, calling it "admirable," he also stated that for this type of facility to open in a neighborhood "it’s critical to engage in strong community outreach, consultation, and dialogue."
"I am writing to request that Maitri cease moving forward with this lease until it engages in robust community outreach," he stated.
The Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) also released a letter about the new tenant. "There's definitely some disingenuousness here in terms of the lack of communication from Maitri, but on the other hand, I think some of us are jumping to conclusions about the impact that this facility will have on the neighborhood, " wrote DTNA President Dennis Roybal. "Back in the 1990s, when I lived in Pac Heights, Progress Foundation opened a residential care facility for 16 'seriously, persistently mentally ill' people next door to me and contrary to the worst fears of the neighborhood, the impact turned out to be negligible."
DTNA will be hosting a general meeting next month to discuss issues of interest to the community. Representatives from Sharper Future will be making a presentation, followed by a Q&A. Those interested in attending should swing by the Gazebo Room at CPMC Davies Campus at Castro and Duboce from 7-9:30pm on Monday Feb. 8th.
In the meantime, a separate Public Safety Meeting is being held in Hayes Valley on Monday, Feb. 1st to discuss issues of adult probation. San Francisco Probation Chief Karen Fletcher will be on hand to speak about all kinds of adult probation, and—in light of recent concerns surrounding 100 Church St.—will include sex offender probation in her presentation.
"This is a good meeting to send people to find about what role San Francisco Adult Probation plays in public safety," said Bob Barnwell, a Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association member, and the organizer of these monthly Public Safety events. "What is its current success rate? What are some of the challenges facing the department? What is the role the community can play in assisting Adult Probation? These meetings are designed to provide information to the community about the role the many city departments involved in public safety play in our community's safety."
The Adult Probation Public Safety Meeting will take place on Monday, Feb. 1st from 7-8pm at the Korean American Community Center, at 745 Buchanan St.
We'll keep you updated on the future of 100 Church St, and any additional community outreach that takes place.