San Fransisco socially distances homeless encampments amid coronavirus pandemic

San Fransisco socially distances homeless encampments amid coronavirus pandemic

San Fransisco is giving homeless encampments the social distance treatment.

The city is joining others around the world in begrudgingly authorizing its homeless encampments by marking safely distanced spaces for tents and other makeshift shelters.

In San Fransisco’s Civic Center, about 80 tents are now lined in tidy rows on a wide street near San Francisco City Hall, part of a “safe sleeping village” opened last week.

The village is one of two Mayor London Breed has planned to open, with another coming to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

Breed reasoned it was better to sanction and contain the homeless rather than letting them sprawl out across the city.

“So while in normal times I would say that we should focus on bringing people inside and not sanctioning tent encampments, we frankly do not have many other options right now,” she said in a tweet last week.

Homeless advocates across the country have pushed for officials to move homeless into underused hotels. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends officials leave tent encampments as they are during the pandemic unless shelter in apartments or hotels could be accommodated.

As part of a state initiative, San Francisco has moved 1,300 of its estimated 8,000 homeless individuals into hotels — a strategy also being used in New York City, though it’s not without its detractors, including Mayor de Blasio.

But some San Francisco officials have accepted the sanctioned encampments as just something else to get used to during the pandemic.

”It is just a new world that we’re living in,” said San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, “and it’s going to have to be our new normal.”

With Post Wire services

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