Mayor Lee Announces 244 New Housing Units For SF's Chronically Homeless

Mayor Lee Announces 244 New Housing Units For SF's Chronically Homeless
The National Hotel (center) will house 90 chronically homeless people by early next year. (Photo: Google Maps)
By Brittany Hopkins - Published on November 02, 2016.

Mayor Ed Lee and his new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing announced today that 244 new permanent supportive housing units will be made available to house chronically homeless San Franciscans within the next three months. 

The units are located within single-room occupancy hotels in the Mission, Tenderloin and Mid-Market—the Crown Hotel at Valencia and 16th, the Winton Hotel at O'Farrell and Taylor, and the National Hotel at Seventh and Market.

“These new units will end homelessness overnight for 244 San Franciscans,” Mayor Lee said in a press release issued today. “We are thrilled to provide new housing opportunities and hand over the keys to the new units to those who deserve the chance at a fresh start.”

All three buildings will be managed by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, which manages 22 supportive housing sites across the Tenderloin, Union Square, SoMa and Mission. According to the press release, 50 units in the Crown Hotel became available last week. 104 units at the Winton Hotel will be available later this fall, and 90 chronically homeless people will be offered housing in the National Hotel this winter.

According to the Mayor's Office, the city's housing portfolio currently includes more than 6,200 units of permanent supportive housing. Over the past couple of years, the Mayor's Office has been making a concerted effort to contract and fill vacant SRO rooms around the city, though the program's effect on reducing the city's overall homeless count, which has remained roughly stable from 2007 to 2015, has yet to be seen. 

“We’ve identified hundreds of vacant or underutilized units in SRO hotels, and we’re working with the hotel owners to bring services in there,” Bevan Dufty, director of the former Mayor's Office of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement, told the Chronicle last March, before resigning his position. “We’re not talking about warehousing people in bad situations. It’s about providing a way to live with dignity in SROs, while maximizing the (housing) resources that are already available to us.”

Mayor Lee's announcement comes as San Francisco residents cast their votes on a number of propositions that could impact the city's approach to solving homelessness.

A few of those propositions include Prop Q, which seeks to prohibit tent encampments; Props J and K, which, if both approved, would create and allocate general fund dollars to a Homeless Housing and Services Fund; and Prop S, which seeks to allocate a portion of the city's hotel tax to programs that prevent family homelessness.

To see the full list of propositions on the ballot and compare local endorsements, check out Hoodline's election guide.