House Activists see shelter closures a mistake
despite increased permanent housing
District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly tells rally need for shelters
still too great for closures.
By Pat Murphy
February 13, 2006
Housing activists this afternoon urged caution in diverting homeless
shelter funding away to additional supportive housing.
Despite increased availability of permanent housing the need
for shelters still exists, said Eric Quezada in a 1:00 p.m. City
Hall steps press conference.
Quezada spoke on behalf of Housing Justice and serves as executive
director of Dolores Street Community Services
He organized the rally in conjunction with District 6 Supervisor
Chris Daly, with Daly moments later convening a hearing on the
issue before the Government and Audit Oversight Committee.
"While the increase in the City's subsidized housing is
a step in the right direction, the City still lacks the housing
and shelter needed to accommodate thousands of people experiencing
homelessness each night," Daly stated.
Maggie Agnew broke into tears, and took speakers with her,
relating her struggle for housing.
A city administration official insisted those most in need of
immediate and temporary shelter will not be displaced.
"I want folks to hear loud and clear that we will continue
to decrease the number of (shelter) beds...as we continue to more
of those people into housing," said Darius Kayhan, supportive
housing manager for the Human Resources Department.
"And we will not stop serving...seniors, immigrants, people
on Social Security, and insuring that they have a safe place to
sleep and also that we have a place to refer them to for housing,"
Kayhan told the committee.
He recalled the trend away from shelters to supportive housing
began as early as 1999 when Mission Rock Shelter was closed.
"Instead of pulling that money out, when we lost that shelter
and had to move on...we started to rethink where are we going
with this?" recalled Kayhan.
"There was enough data already at that time that we knew...that
we need to redirect our money and redirect our implementation
around permanent supportive housing.
"We took that money and leased two large residential hotels
and turned them into supportive housing - that being the Mission
Hotel in the Mission District and the Jefferson Hotel in the Tenderloin
"We were able to move the vast majority of folks out of
the Mission Rock Shelter and into supportive housing where they
paid rent, they had the dignity of their own room, they had a
key, and they had onsite support services."
The committee filed the hearing without action as informational.