SAN FRANCISCO—A group of San Francisco residents led by a Silicon Valley lawyer launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to fight a proposed homeless shelter in District 6, near the city’s eastern waterfront by the Bay Bridge and Seawall Lot 330. The proposed location in District 6 for the new Navigation Center is owned by the state of California not by the city of San Francisco.
Earlier this month, San Francisco Mayor London Breed proposed a location for a 200-bed Homeless Navigation Center in the city’s Embarcadero Section, but residents of the waterfront regions of South Beach, Rincon Hill and Mission Bay, which all comprise of District 6 formed a small coalition called Safe Embarcadero for All against the building of the establishment.
District 6 already has multiple shelters including St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco and MSC Homeless Shelter with over 200 beds which is one of the biggest in Northern California.
Donors have raised more than $80,000 to cover legal fees to prevent the Homeless Navigation Center from being built.
“The community is fully supportive of efforts to end homelessness. South Beach is home to the Delancey Street Foundation, a residential facility helping former drug users recover from their addictions and others facing difficult situations, including the formerly homeless. The East Cut is home to Rene Cazenave, which provides housing for the formerly homeless, as well as most of the new affordable housing in the City.
The rushed process the Mayor is following to build the homeless shelter by the end of the summer is concerning to the community. We are worried that the rushed process puts the political goal of building a large Navigation Center ahead of legitimate concerns about public safety, drug use, and other problems that a large shelter may bring to the community. According to the city’s own data, a third of the homeless are drug users and some are sex offenders. The Navigation Center will not allow drug use inside, meaning that about 75 drug users will be forced into the surrounding family neighborhood to use drugs. The community is also concerned about the environmental effects of building on a site that is known to have toxic materials beneath,” reads a post on the Safe Embarcadero for All GoFundMe page.
Their efforts have prompted a response from Mayor Breed, who called the campaign “incredibly frustrating and disappointing.”
“Homelessness is a crisis in our city and we need to act to get people off the streets and into housing,” said Mayor Breed in a tweet. “We’re happy to demonstrate how these Nav Centers work and the benefits they’ve brought to other neighborhoods, but we can’t afford unnecessary delays.”
Another group named Safer Embarcadero for All has created a GoFundMe page in response to the building of the homeless center. The GoFundMe has already raised over $162,349 as of Thursday, April 4. This new GoFundMe page has created confusion for many with one resident in the District 6 region informing the San Francisco News that it has led to some people donating to the wrong GoFundMe page.
The resident added that the homeless are not interested in staying inside the Navigation Centers and that there are currently about 40 homeless people in the densely populated region. He added that some of the homeless in the region are addicted to drugs and suffer from mental illnesses.
“Most defecate on the streets, do drugs and leave trash,” the resident told the San Francisco News. He added that the city of San Francisco is not managing the trash and many voters in the region feel left out and ignored. There are already four shelters in District 6 and there are some concerns from residents that the construction of the new shelter could expose toxic soil exposure to residents.
The resident told the San Francisco News that some assume they do not want to help the homeless, to which he replied “that is not true.” He noted on multiple occasions residents provide food and items in need to homeless individuals living in the region.
There are also concerns of traffic congestion because of limited access whenever baseball games transpire in the area. There are currently only two ways in an out of the facility. Members of the community have concerns about safety and have noted that government leaders are refusing to meet with the community to discuss. “Mayor Breed has refused to talk to the community,” stated the resident to the San Francisco News.
“Given the multiple interested parties, potential legal costs and restrictions on the city from taking independent action, our new group, Safer Embarcadero for All, invites you to join us. This effort will require your help by showing up to hearings and community gatherings and making a financial contribution to the fund to support the work the Coalition on Homelessness do,” reads a post from the Safer Embarcadero for All GoFundMe page.
The resident alerted the San Francisco News that there is a vacate property near San Francisco General Hospital that would be a suitable site for a new homeless shelter. He noted that if the proposed location of the new homeless shelter in District 6 is built, residents have already threatened to move. He noted the area is home to plenty of high-rises and families.
Residents in the region are concerned that the building of the new facility could heighten crime in the area and draw more homeless individuals who are not local to the region to the area. There have also been proposals for the new shelter to be built near the plaza in front of City Hall near the Tenderloin District and Civic Center region.
Written By Hilary Dorsey and Casey Jacobs