SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco city departments have identified 42 plots of public land that could be used as sites for sanctioned homeless tent camps amid the coronavirus pandemic.

These various areas across the city would be intended to provide designated safe spaces for homeless people to camp. In addition, these areas would provide the homeless population with basic services, and would also designate enough space for them so that they could maintain social distancing from one another.

However, so far the city of San Francisco has only identified these spots. They have not passed any approval on them, and a number of caveats and challenges could arise, such as neighborhood resistance and conflicts with existing contracts.

These possible sites also would have to pass certain specific requirements in order to gain approval. Some of these requirements state that each plot has to be between 30,000 and 100,000 square feet, be on level and dry open space, and have access to basic utilities like water, sewer, and electricity. 

The city has described that these areas could be “safe sleeping sites”, after District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer requested it. However, Fewer and other officials have stated that public parks and recreation areas are excluded from these 42 potential plots, and would not be used as open spaces for homelessness services.

“I understand the importance of working with the Board of Supervisors and the Emergency Operations Center to identify additional locations for Safe Sleeping Sites on Rec. and Park land that do not interfere with the public’s critically needed access to the outdoors during this health crisis,”, said Phil Ginsburg, the Recreation and Park General Manager.

Currently, the city has two sanctioned camps that are open. The first is located on Fulton Street, and the second is at 730 Stanyan St, which was a former McDonald’s restaurant that the city bought and transformed into a camp site.