Residents in San Francisco’s Bayview District today again voiced criticism of a 100-bed homeless shelter planned there, saying that the city used dubious numbers in its homeless count to justify building the new facility.
The city’s Board of Supervisors in November approved a $978,000 state grant for the proposed shelter at 2115 Jennings St. as part of the homeless resource center known as Mother Brown’s Kitchen.
The project is still pending approval in the coming weeks and months by the city’s Planning Commission and the supervisors before construction can begin.
Supervisor Malia Cohen and various neighborhood groups have opposed the shelter, arguing that it would further concentrate low-income residents in a neighborhood already impacted by poverty issues.
Cohen joined several members of Equality SF, a group representing about 2,000 residents opposed to the plan, at a news conference in front of City Hall this morning.
The supervisor, who represents the Bayview and other adjacent neighborhoods, said the proposed location of the shelter “is not best, not only for San Francisco but for this fragile population.”
Alka Joshi, spokeswoman for Equality SF, questioned the San Francisco Human Services Agency’s homeless count numbers, which it used in an application for the $978,000 state grant.
The city’s homeless count in 2011 found that there were 1,151 people without shelter in San Francisco’s District 10, which includes the Bayview, Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley and Dogpatch neighborhoods.
That number has since increased to 1,278, according to the latest homeless count in 2013.
Joshi said that total jumped from less than 400 in previous counts and that the SFHSA has not been able to produce documentation explaining the sharp increase.
“The numbers don’t add up,” she said.
Joshi said the city wants to bus homeless people to the Bayview from their current location in the Mid-Market area.
“The city is used to dumping on the Bayview,” she said.
SFHSA officials were not immediately available today to comment on the group’s allegations.
However, Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement regarding the shelter after it was approved in November.
“The benefits that this shelter will provide to our most vulnerable residents, especially in the winter months when the weather can prove fatal for those living on the streets, cannot be understated,” Lee said.
“We will commit to communicating with the public and to residents of the Bayview as we move forward on this indoor shelter,” the mayor said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News