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Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Housing Homelessness Die-in protests mayor's plan to shut homeless hotel rooms

Die-in protests mayor’s plan to shut homeless hotel rooms

But activists celebrate the right to challenge evictions.

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Nearly a dozen people participated in a die-in on Howard and 3rd streets outside the Moscone Center Thursday afternoon. The die-in lasted nine minutes — representing the nine months since the COVID pandemic, which is rampaging around the country and has killed more than 250,000 Americans.

Removing people from SIP hotels is an form of eviction, protesters say

Die-in participants denounced the Breed administration’s plans to end the shelter-in-place hotel policy, but also gathered to celebrate the city’s agreement to reinstate the Shelter Grievance Policy at congregate shelters and SIP hotels in the future, which was announced in a message to organizers.

The SCG is a due process appeals procedure available to people being evicted from homeless shelters created by the Shelter Grievance Advisory Committee in 1992. The SGP gives those being evicted a right to representation — preventing shelter evictions without just cause.

“The first part of the die-in is an actual celebration,” said Keegan Medrano, policy director from the Coalition on Homelessness, which co-organized the die-in, along with the Eviction Defense Collaborative. “Our two month-long campaign has successfully put pressure on the city around ensuring that the grievance policy is re-implemented.”

It’s a bad time of year to put people back on the streets.

The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing had tried to replace the SGP with its own grievance policy in September, called the AHS Exit Policy, which would have largely gutted the due-process components around shelter evictions and would have left homeless people kicked out of shelter with little recourse to getting another shelter bed during a pandemic, Medrano said.

What’s more, the SGP has largely been a success, with 80 percent of residents who were asked to leave returning to a shelter, Leah Simon-Weisberg, directing attorney of the Shelter Client Advocates Program at the Eviction Defense Collaborative, said. That spurred advocates to push for its implementation in SIP hotels as well as congregate shelters.

“We have a rate of about 80 percent,” said Simon-Weisberg. “So 80 percent of informal hearings and arbitrations result in the folks’ return to their shelter site. That’s pretty amazing, considering they have generally been kicked out, and then are able to return.”

The SGP has never applied to the SIP hotels, were complaints were instead handled by emailing or calling the CCC grievances hotline, but the HSH has admitted that the CCC’s hotline has been generally understaffed, according to Simon-Weisberg. Now, advocates are demanding that the SGP be implemented in hotels due to the need for accountability and the policy’s demonstrated effectiveness.

Part of why the SGP is important, EDC Shelter Client Advocate Ben Baczkowski said, is that many of the eviction cases that are cited as incidents of violence, drug use, or other well-documented reasons for eviction are much more complex.

“The city has said that they haven’t been evicting people, and that you can only get kicked out if you are violent, and that’s just not true,” Baczkowski said. “The majority of cases that I’ve seen have been women who have had to deal with sexual harassment or other things of that nature and when they complain about it they get retaliated against because there is no standard having to show that an incident happened. There’s always two sides to the story, and we’re just here to make sure that the balance of power isn’t skewed to the side of authority.”

Another reason that the grievance policy is important is that a system of accountability in place prevents bad actors from acting with impunity, a system which the SIP hotels currently lack, according to Simon-Weisberg.

“People think twice about arbitrarily kicking people out of shelters because they know they are going to have to go through this process, whereas with the hotels, who knows what’s going on? And it cannot be lost on any of us that the shelter providers want this process too, yet it’s the city that’s preventing it. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Simon-Weisberg.

That said, Baczkowski acknowledged that most shelter staff are doing their best at a very hard job, one that often pays little.

HSH has not responded to my inquiry seeking details on a timeline for when the SGP would be implemented in hotels, but stated in their message to organizers that they would need to include the Department of Health prior to the SGP’s implemention in hotels. DPH has the final say as to whether a person is reinstated in a shelter based on their “COVID status.” HSH also has yet to responded regarding my question as to whether someone would be placed into a SIP hotel room if they were COVID positive at the time that they would be returning to their shelter.

Although the HSH has agreed to re-implement the grievance policy, Medrano is not letting his guard down.

“Our demands are shifting to now ensuring that it actually gets implemented,” Medrano said. “In the letter that we got back from HSH, they were kind of like ‘we need to include DPH,’ and we just want to make sure that including DPH isn’t just another hurdle, or a way to obfuscate the process, but that they will include DPH and think about how to mindfully implement the shelter grievance policy within the expectations and understanding of COVID.”

It is not hard to see why the rules are unclear. The Breed administration and HSH announced last week that they would close all 29 of the city’s SIP hotels between now and June 2021, evicting 500 residents by December 21, a move that outraged many of the supervisors.

Sups. Matt Haney, Hilary Ronen, Shamann Walton, and Dean Preston Thursday morning announced a plan to introduce legislation next month to keep the 2,300 SIP hotel rooms in San Francisco operating. The mayor has defied legislation from the Board of Supervisors around the SIP hotel room program in the past—the current number of open hotel rooms is roughly only a third of what was specified in the board’s legislation back in April.

The future of the SIP hotel room program remains uncertain, but RK Johnson, an organizer with the Coalition on Homelessness said that one thing was certain—they would continue to organize even if the SIP hotels close.

“Our work isn’t done. If the SIP hotels shutdown, they will still be sending people to the streets.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. Gorn, again you lie. Prop C creates a panel that decides how the money is spent. It was designed to prevent the past abuses. It takes power away from the mayor. Prop A strictly restricts how the money van be spent. Hardly a windfall for Breed. As to Prop I, that give Breed a major length of rope to hang herself with. If she squanders that, and does not properly use it to reduce homelessness, and know she won’t give up her political football, that will not please the majority. You cannot see that politics is a long game, not a sprint.

  2. Prop C tech tax threw $350m annually at Breed.
    Prop A bond threw $600m+ in slush dollars at Breed.
    Even Prop I is dependent upon Breed’s unitary budgetary authority to get spent on social housing.
    Ditto for the rest of the revenue measure menagerie.

    A slightly more ambitious agenda than Hillary Clinton: Tax the Rich a little more and leave capitalism undisturbed, is what passes for “progressive” in San Francisco. Call out this nonsense for what it is, and fools like you presume that opposing progressive failure means supporting Breed. Pathetic, the lot of it..

  3. Gorn, do you really thing you are fooling anyone with your desperate lies? They have NOT thrown money at Breed, thetpy HAVE forced her to back off on her effort to put the homeless back on the streets where she can use them to pander to haters, And you have no idea what might be underway to reform things. I am sure not going to fall for your goading and tip the mayor’s hand. I will just say, Breed seems to be an abundance of chances to hang herself. She would be wise to wake up and smell the coffee as they say. But seriously, she seems roo stupid.

  4. Born, do you really thing you are fooling anyone with your desperate lies? They have NOT thrown money at Breed, thetpy HAVE forced her to back off on her effort to put the homeless back on the streets where she can use them to pander to haters, And you have no idea what might be underway to reform things. I am sure not going to fall for your goading and tip the mayor’s hand. I will just say, Breed seems to be an abundance of chances to hang herself. She would be wise to wake up and smell the coffee as they say. But seriously, she seems roo stupid.

  5. Do you really think that these supervisors can make time in their busy schedule of getting rolled by and throwing tax revenues at Breed to humiliate her? Your progressive fantasy is a scam, there is no political power capable of doing much to stop Breed much less move a coherent alternate progressive agenda.

  6. Gorn, you poor thing. You just can’t accept reality. Ronen has one thing in her favor…becoming Board President would enrage Breed. And, humiliate her politically. And you are right about Breed and corruption. Of course, with Trump on the way out, the focus on San Francisco may evaporate. Then again, the local Republicans who have supported Breed won’t have sufficient influence to protect her, and a Biden Justice Department might not see a reason to let her continue.

    As to your clear hatred of progressives…well, at least you are bing more honest.

  7. How are you seeing Ronen as having successfully put the pieces together to build political support for her Board President run? She thought she had it last time. But she did not. Her endorsement record was not sufficient to propel her to the presidency.

    Breed will not get the nod for Senate because she is a walking magnet for a corruption indictment. If she did get elevated, progs would figure out another way to fuck up succession like they did in 2011 because professional progressives have established permanent residence behind the eight ball.

    Breed endorsed Peskin for reelection this year. She would have no problems doing business with Peskin 2.0.

  8. Gorn, that one clearly hit a nerve. As I knew it would. While it can’t be rule out, appointing Breed to the Senate would be pretty stupid on Newsom’s part. As I said, she would be in way over her head. It would be laughable. But Ronen as Board President sounds better and better, just to see the meltdown of you, and Breed. You forget one thing, neither you, nor Breed, has any real say. I suspect Peskin, Haney, or Preston are more likely. Bottom line, it won’t be someone who will please Breed.

  9. Greekfreak, Ronen is not going to be Board President much less Mayor.

    Is it projection for their own shortcomings that has “progressive” liberals who perennially fall short of political power claim that conservatives are always “out of their league?”

    I’d discount a Breed Senate appointment.

  10. Well, It is possible that Willie Brown may hand us a nice gift on a silver platter. He is pushing for Breed to be Harris’ replacement. Breed would become a junior senator and be in WAY over her head, and the BoS would chose a replacement, perhap’s Haney…or Preston…or maybe Ronan. Yes, I would love to hear your screams if Ronan became Mayor. It would be audible within, oh, at least the greater Bay Area. Why, you might even get to tag along to DC as shill to a junior senator with little if any power, or likely political future. And if not, you would become the voice of a fool… Then again, Newsom might decide he want’s to jump up the ladder faster. It is legal, and Newsom wants to be president. And he would also be in over his head. Ah, the Peter Principle in Action.

  11. Geeklet, the Board did not stand up to Breed. They did not stand up on SFPD, they did not stand up on the POA and they did not stand up when she defied their hotel law, and they did not stand up with charter reform to cure that insult.

    The supes proclaimed their status as potted plants for all to see and took the political hits to gift Breed hundreds of millions in new revenue to be used against them by a mayor who, not without reason, has no confidence in her government to perform.

  12. Gorn, Gorn, Gorn…you keep digging that hole. It is only relatively recent that we have had a BoS that has had the numbers to stand up to the mayor, and as pointed out, repeatedly, politics is not a sprint. It took time to reach the depth of dysfunction we are at. Had Lee not died, we would have just been shed of him. You are trying to rush progressives into making foolish mistakes. You don’t even deny it. We just recently got Prop C funds released. We are in the middle of a pandemic that has turned worse than ever. Breed is apparently hoping for a “final solution” that will look like an accident. Closing the hotels to save money, basically equates to murder. And you are cheering Breed on from the sidelines, and worse, can’t make any arguments outside of what is apparently your approved script.

  13. If the plight of homeless people is sufficient enough for supervisors to pass legislation mandating they be accommodated in hotels during the pandemic, if the plight of homeless people in hotels is sufficient enough for “nearly a dozen” advocates to simulate death, then one might think that there was indeed an underlying urgency driving all of this. Listening to “prog” professional housing advocates, one would think that the sky was falling in everywhere every day. Yet still they dawdle. And you apologize for them. Which means that you are opposed to taking timely action to mitigate the crisis on our streets, even action from “the left.”

    There is always just One More Piece, right around the corner, that once fit into place, will be the undoing of all you hate.

  14. Gorn, again you keep trying, desperately, obsessively, to goad people into acting hastily. When it happens, you, and your boss Breed will be going “what happened?” Breed thInks she is calling things, but….not really. She is just digging herself deeper, and deeper. She keeps racking up losses, but thinks she is not. And soon, she will find herself drowning in her own corruption. Does she REALLY think, push comes to shove, that Nuru won’t toss her right under the bus to cut a bit off of his sentence? She’s a bigger target. Willie is a bit long in the tooth, though he would be a major win, Lee is dead, and it hard to say if Newsom is in as deep. Farrell? Who knows. But Breed…she is definitely the big win. Keep deluding yourself. Who knows, you might get caught up in it all yourself. Have you thought about what to wear for your perp walk?

  15. geekgoil, there’s always just one piece of the puzzle missing that the adroit and shrewd progressive brain trust is strategically waiting to fit into place for before they make their move and pounce on a vulnerable Breed. You’ll see!

    Meanwhile, Breed’s calling the shots on homeless and hotels, she’s calling the shots on SFPD funding and she’s calling the shots on the POA MOU and you are okay with this.

    This is because “progressives” are really liberals who don’t want to rock the boat, just get paid to pretend to care. The “moderates” are really conservatives who control politics and the funding of the liberal agencies. So long as Breed has the Board by the nonprofit funding gonads, then none of this is ever going to change.

    This is the true legacy of Care Not Cash.

  16. Gorn, I am being polite and not mangling your user name. You clearly feel the need to mangle mine. Just another example of your desperation. Let’s see, thanks to Breed’s incompetence, she has lost control of the BoS, can’t really get her cronies voted in, has lost her enforcer (Nuru), is looking at the possibility of losing her extra authority, and being recalled. I realize you want to keep your job, but face it, that is not likely. You keep trying, desperately, to goad progressives into acting in haste which would benefit Breed. That is NOT going to happen. In San Francisco, “so-called moderates” are the closest thing to Republicans that has any hope of affecting public policy. Breed is a straight up DINO.

  17. One of these days, geekling, everyone will stand perfectly still, remain absolutely silent, and the progressives will stride into power unimpeded and all will be well in the shire.

    What interests do “Trump loving Republicans” have in keeping “moderate” Democrat corruption going?

    How much money was raised to keep corruption going, raised against breaking up DPW after the fact?

    What’s the need to float trial balloons against the kinds of corruption that the FBI and US Attorney are outlining in court? Raising everyone’s garbage rates for the low, low bribe of staff parties and walking around money for Nuru garners no comment. But almost a dozen people protesting the failure of homeless, inc catches Redmond’s eye. Why might that be?

  18. Oh, and your suggestion that they should “off” themselves shows how truly sick you are. And no, silly, it is not remotely rocket science. It is politics, which is a game you try to pretend not to understand. I realize you are heartbroken that Trump lost. But get over it.

  19. I realize you cannot handle facts. Like the major difference between insuring that we cannot have another “Nuru,” abusing DPW, or that not all referendums are created equal, or even that a referendum just might be a trial balloon. Or that money needs to be raised to counter the near unlimited resources that Trump loving Republicans will pour in to insure that Breed can continue corruption. Ron Conway is under the radar, but has cronies that are helping out.

  20. “Gorn, again you shill for Breed. It has been explained to you that amending the charter is not a simple process. It will require a referendum. That, thanks to your hero Willie Brown, is required. ”

    Everything you say in this paragraph is incorrect. The Charter was amended to split DPW sanitation and construction just this year. This is not rocket science. Supes did not amend the Charter to fix checks and balances and to end corruption for the same reasons they let the SFPD and POA slide.

    “Now that the Presidential election is past, things can begin to move forward. ”

    Nothing stopped for the presidential election. You always have another excuse for doing nothing.

    “You have been exposed as a fraud.”

    LOL. ‘Nearly a dozen people participated in a die-in’

    There’s yer fraud. I would question their dedication to the movement that they did not off themselves, die to make way for people who have better ideas than die ins.

  21. Gorn, again you shill for Breed. It has been explained to you that amending the charter is not a simple process. It will require a referendum. That, thanks to your hero Willie Brown, is required. Now that the Presidential election is past, things can begin to move forward. As can a recall of the mayor. You have been exposed as a fraud. Thanks for giving another chance to point out your nastiness.

  22. Not a word in this piece about the political obstruction by Breed defying Board legislation on housing homeless people in hotels and the Board’s refusal to check the Mayor’s abuse of power or amend the charter to prohibit mayoral sabotage of Board laws.

    Faithfully and uncritically reproducing advocate press releases because this method of “advocacy” works and need not be considered.

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