San Francisco’s homelessness department is seeking $20 million in additional funding to extend an encampment program that already funds tents that cost over $60,000 a year.
This week, officials from San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing went before the the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee and requested $20 million over the next two years to keep six ‘Safe Sleeping Village’ tent encampments running.
The city’s six encampment sites provide tents for the homeless as well as three meals a day, around-the-clock security and bathrooms and showers, the
The city created the sites in May 2020 during the height of the
San Francisco’s encampment sites provide tents for the homeless as well as three meals a day, around-the-clock security and bathrooms and showers
Officials from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing requested $20 million to keep six’ Safe Sleeping Village’ encampments running
The program currently costs $18.2 million and funds 260 tents in six sites, totaling to just over $60,000 per tent per year, which is twice the median cost of an apartment in the city.
The department is now asking the city for $15 million in the upcoming fiscal year for a similar number of tents, which would amount to about $57,000 per tent per year, the Chronicle reported.
The additional $5 million will be for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, when officials plan to significantly ramp down the program.
The eyepopping cost of the tents and the city’s desire to extend a program that was supposed to be a short-term solution to the pandemic has been met with criticism.
Supervisor Ahsha Safai questioned the $20 million request, which she said ‘seems like an exorbitant amount for something that we’re trying to transition (away from) as quickly as possible.’
The cost of the tents and the desire to extend a program that was supposed to be a short-term solution to help the homeless stay safe during the height of the pandemic has been met with criticism
The homeless encampment program currently costs $18.2 million and funds 260 tents in six sites, totaling to just over $60,000 per tent per year
Gigi Whitley, the homeless department’s deputy director of administration and finance, pointed out that most of the funds actually go towards security, meals and the rented shower and bathroom facilities.
But supervisors at Wednesday meeting said the high cost must be re-examined, the Chronicle said.
‘It is a big deal to have showers and bathrooms, and I don’t dispute that,’ Supervisor Hillary Ronen said. ‘But the cost just doesn’t make any sense.’
The entirety of the the tent program is funded through Proposition C, a 2018 business tax measure that collects money for homeless services.
San Francisco is expected to spend over $1 billion on homelessness over the next two years due to Proposition C, the Chronicle reported.
Homelessness has been a persisting problem in some California cities, but San Francisco has become a hotbed for tent cities and transients.
When the Safe Sleeping Villages were originally erected, officials stressed that the sites were not a permanent solutions to the city’s persistent issues with the homeless population.
‘The Safe Sleeping Village is a temporary approach and those areas will be returned to their prior uses once shelter in place rules are lifted. The City will continue to work on long-term, safe solutions for those experiencing homelessness,’ Jonathan Streeter, city spokesperson, told San Francisco Examiner in May of 2020.