Today, homeless families held a rally at City Hall to demand a meeting with Mayor Edwin Lee. After months of unanswered meeting requests, families from the SRO Families United Collaborative—which includes the Coalition on Homelessness, the Chinatown Community Development Center, the Chinese Progressive Association, and Dolores Street Community Services, decided to bring their struggle right to Mayor Lee’s doorstep.
Family homelessness is as bad now in San Francisco as it has ever been.
- There are currently 2,200 homeless students enrolled in the San Francisco Unified School District—up from 1,600 in 2009 and 1,232 in 2005.
- Today, the waitlist for shelter for families is at an all-time high, with families waiting more than six months for shelter. In the Summer of 2007, there were 75 homeless families on the waitlist for shelter. One year later, in the Summer of 2008, there were 150 families. The city now has 267 families on the waitlist.
Meanwhile, the City is lagging in providing housing:
- The average wait for Section 8 housing through the Housing Authority is four years.
- There are 37,000 households on the combined Section 8 and Public Housing waitlist in San Francisco.
- But there are 847 units of empty housing in Housing Authority properties! That’s a 10% higher vacancy rate than the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development permits!
Homeless families in San Francisco need access to all that empty housing. Families have been requesting a meeting with Mayor Ed Lee to talk about ways to open these empty units up.
So far, the mayor has turned a cold shoulder to homeless families in San Francisco.