An emergency platform for protecting unhoused people

Coalition on Homelessness releases policy positions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The Coalition on Homelessness just put out an emergency policy platform to protecting unhoused people from COVID-19. You can sign the petition to show support here.

House every single homeless person in a vacant unit now. 

San Francisco currently has 30,000 vacant units and 42,000 empty hotel rooms while 18,000 homeless people who are disproportionately elderly, chronically ill, and with severe medical conditions are without homes. Currently, the City is only placing those who test positive or who are symptomatic into hotel rooms. We are calling on the City to house every single homeless person in a vacant housing unit immediately, prioritizing those who fall into the high-risk category.

Among the proposals is an end to all sweeps.

Stop the Sweeps. 

The Department of Public Works and the Police Department are still harassing homeless people, confiscating their belongings, and forcing them to move along — when they have nowhere else to go. We call for a stop to all homeless sweeps including property confiscation, a moratorium on the enforcement of anti-homeless ordinance, and allowing those without housing to shelter-in-place on all public lands.

Provide comprehensive support to those “sheltering-in-place” outside. 

Surviving in public space already presents a number of individual and public health risks. The city should immediately offer tents, hygiene stations, food, water and other provisions to all of those sheltering-in-place outside.

Protect People in Shelter: Deconcentrate and Stabilize Shelters. 

San Francisco’s shelters are mass congregate settings, some with more than 300 people where the virus will spread rapidly. We are calling on the City to enforce all CDC guidelines for homeless people in shelter and to provide up to date information to shelter residents regarding the risk of contracting COVID-19 in congregate settings.

Leave no one hungry: Provide food assistance to shelters, encampments, and quarantined units. 

Effectively deliver and provide 3 meals per day for those residing outdoors, in hotel rooms, and in shelter. Doing so will reduce their needs to move about the city acquiring food and resources and in turn reducing the risk of wider community spread.

Prevent homelessness: Ban all evictions and suspend all rent. 

In order to prevent homelessness, the City must ensure that all eviction proceedings are halted and that a rent suspension is implemented. The City should create a financial assistance fund to assist with back rental payment and other debt incurred during the crisis.

Create clear guidelines for homeless people from the Department of Public Health. 

General rules don’t help: What does “stay home” mean to a homeless person? Unsheltered and sheltered homeless San Franciscans need clear, specific guidelines to follow and for those guidelines to be widely distributed.

Other organizations that have signed on:

Coalition on Homelessness

San Francisco Night Ministry

Compass Family Services

Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco

Faith in Action Bay Area

Do No Harm Coalition


Western Regional Advocacy Project


Hospitality House

Eviction Defense Collaborative

Mission Housing

Street Sheet

Global Movement Network

San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project

St. Mary and St. Martha Lutheran Church

San Francisco Rising

Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council

Haight Ashbury Merchants Association

St. Anthony’s

People Power Media

AIDS Legal Referral Panel

The Gubbio Project