Things are moving fast and we are getting so many questions and letters of support. Thank you! We compiled this FAQ and encourage you to share with your neighbors and others who are interested in the 730 Stanyan site and advocating for a safe and healthy neighborhood.
Safe Healthy Haight FAQ
What is happening at the former McDonald’s at Haight and Stanyan (aka 730 Stanyan)?
The site at 730 Stanyan has been designated as a ‘Safe Sleeping Village’, a city sanctioned tent site where unhoused individuals can live and socially distance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Who is occupying the site?
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors authorized safe sleeping sites to encourage social distancing, improve sanitation, and slow the spread of COVID-19. However, to date little to no information has been released about the site residents and health guidelines.
The site is intended to “only serve hyper local populations” per Supervisor Dean Preston’s D5 newsletter, which would constitute people living in existing encampments in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, but there is no written policy on this and Supervisor Preston has not publicly posted any plan or policies for occupant selection or management.
How many tents are there?
Space is provided for up to 60 tents, with both single and double occupancy.
[Tent encampments growing on Waller Street, directly outside the 730 Stanyan site, July 18th, 2020]
Why was there no public input before the site was chosen?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the City of San Francisco to implement an emergency decree, allowing the City to by-pass normal procedures usually required for such a monumental project. As a result, the City began implementing the ‘Safe Sleeping Village’ without complete public input.
Who selected the site?
District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston in cooperation with the city’s Department of Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Office.
Who is managing the site?
Larkin Street Youth Services and Homeless Youth Alliance (HYA) were chosen to manage the site. HYA staff and neighborhood volunteers will monitor the site’s residents. HYA presently provides needle distribution and other services to the Haight neighborhood. HYA says it will ‘ensure’ the residents adhere to a ‘Code of Conduct’ established in their ‘Community Action Made 4 People’ (or CAMP) plan. However, the CAMP plan notes that it is, “committed to creating an environment free from punitive or paternalistic rules including curfews, hiring security or involving law enforcement.” This is extremely concerning to local residents and merchants.
Who is providing security?
We understand that Treeline Security is providing security for the exterior of the site.
How long will the tent site be open?
Although no hard date has been announced, Supervisor Preston has said that the site will be in operation for three to six months. It should be noted that no city official has committed to this timeline and the CAMP plan says it can be terminated or extended at anytime.
Who is the Safe Healthy Haight group?
We are residents, families and local small businesses owners who want a Safe & Healthy Haight for all. We do not believe it is the right strategy to bring more tent encampments and encourage street living in the Haight, as it threatens public health, the survival of our surrounding small businesses and can undo decades of work and tens of millions of dollars spent by the city to clean up the Stanyan Street entrance to Golden Gate Park. We do support viable and humane solutions such as low-income housing and other alternatives with adequate security and health provisions for both the unhoused as well as residents.
For more information on our organization, including our suggested site management plan, please read our initial Medium post here.
What is Safe Healthy Haight’s goal?
Our goal is in our name: a neighborhood that is safe and healthy for all. The 730 Stanyan tent encampment project does not meet this goal. The project was rushed, without thoughtful planning or neighborhood input. Even now, the site is up and running without an executed contract, a site management plan, or a closing date.
Safe Healthy Haight believes this is a recipe for disaster. We have outlined specific provisions we’d like to see made to the site contract, including:
- Establish that this is a short-term site specifically opened to address the COVID-19 emergency with clear timelines for closure and getting residents into more permanent housing. Supervisor Preston has said that this is a temporary solution for three to six months, but we’ve yet to see that in writing or in the site management contract.
- Clearly defined benchmarks for this site’s success, and commitment to closing the site if those benchmarks aren’t maintained. How can the site be managed or successful if there are no metrics for getting unhoused folks from the neighborhood off the streets and into better housing
- Tents will not be allowed to continue on sidewalks around the site, and only those tents in the Haight-Ashbury are eligible to move into this site (as opposed to being overflow for tents outside Haight-Ashbury).
- Establish a code of conduct and good neighbors policy based on resident feedback, as well as policies and procedures for what happens if the site rules are violated.
- A health officer must make daily visits to the site to ensure the health of the tent dwellers and ensure that they are following CDC guidelines.
- In the immediate term, increased security presence for the area surrounding 730 Stanyan.
- Require the City to pay for any medical expenses for housed and unhoused residents that arise as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak that can be traced back to this site.
Is Safe Healthy Haight anonymous?
No! We are local residents and business owners. We publish content online under the name Safe Healthy Haight to represent all of our members. Unfortunately, some of our members have been harassed and targeted by folks who disagree with our point of view and therefore don’t feel comfortable commenting publicly on this issue due to safety concerns.
Is Safe Healthy Haight “anti-homeless”?
No. Everyone agrees that the homeless in San Francisco need much more help, particularly during these difficult times when there are many fewer shelter beds due to social distancing requirements. In fact, San Francisco already spends more than almost any city in the country on homeless services.
We don’t believe Supervisor Preston’s solution to create a tent site in a high-traffic area with no management plan in place is the appropriate response during a pandemic. Instead, he and the City should focus their efforts on more permanent, city-wide housing solutions, as well as other plots of land that are not in the middle of a residential neighborhood and a commercial corridor. Supervisor Preston and the city should share the management plan and contract with residents for transparency so we can know how the site is being run and its metrics for success. Supervisor Preston should also work across the political aisle with our Mayor and other regional leaders to develop an actual regional and city-wide plan, since it is clear that despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on homeless services annually, the situation is only getting worse.
Did Supervisor Preston and his supporters really hand out 1,000+ tents in District 5 with no plan?
Yes. Supervisor Preston and his supporters claim to have handed out nearly 1,000 tents without City approval or coordination for where these tents would be placed or how they would abide by the COVID-19 health orders. As a result, District 5 saw an influx of dense tent encampments on sidewalks, particularly outside of the Fell Street DMV in the Divisadero neighborhood and the corner of Haight and Masonic in Haight-Ashbury.
Supervisor Preston doesn’t shy away from his involvement in giving away tents, saying it was the right thing to do. However, he also told the San Francisco Chronicle that “No one is happy with the situation. Not the people in the tents or the neighbors.” Further, he is actually lashing out at his own constituents for the problem he and his supporters created, telling the press: “I challenge the critics to offer some solutions here.”
Are the unhoused individuals currently living on the Haight area sidewalks required to move to the site?
No. Individuals living on the Haight neighborhood sidewalks are ‘encouraged’ to move to the 730 Stanyan site; however, they are not forced to go. Residents have already reported that certain tent dwellers near them have refused to enter the 730 Stanyan site and remain on the sidewalk, notable around the DMV on Fell St. It is likely that the Haight and nearby neighborhoods will continue to have a tent village AND homeless encampments on its sidewalks.
What happens to the homeless individuals when the site closes?
No plan for the closure of the 730 Stanyan site has been announced. It is hoped the site residents will be provided living accommodations when they leave. However, there is no commitment by District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston or other officials that accommodations will be provided.
Are you one of the groups that sued the City?
No, Safe Healthy Haight is not and has not been a part of any lawsuit against the City.
Will Safe Healthy Haight actually accomplish anything? Or are you just a bunch of NIMBY complainers?
We strive for a safe and healthy community for everyone — housed and unhoused residents, merchants and their employees, city workers and visitors to the neighborhood. We do this by advocating for the health and wellbeing of everyone.
Right now, we know our community is facing very challenging times. That’s why we encourage you support our merchants and other important causes — the folks who help make our neighborhood what it is today. We encourage our members and residents to support these organizations and causes.
- Safe and Sound — For over forty years, Safe and Sound has partnered with local nonprofits to pioneer an approach to prevent child abuse and reduce its devastating impact.
- Downtown Streets Team — Provides homeless and low-income men and women with the resources they need to rebuild their lives
How do I get involved with Safe Healthy Haight?
Stay informed by registering for our email list, following us on Twitter, joining our Facebook group…and emailing District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Since Supervisor Preston has been largely ignoring resident feedback, we encourage residents to cc us at email@example.com when they send an email to him.