The success of San Francisco food trucks is prompting a new approach to helping the homeless.
Bevan Dufty, the city's director of Housing Opportunities, Partnership and Engagement, said they hope to bring a free soul food truck to help serve the Tenderloin District's sizable African-American population.
The goal is to create conversation and community in the streets, while also aiding those who aren't eating nutritious meals.
"I learned about a study at UCSF that showed that individuals who are homeless or marginally housed, living with HIV, that 56 percent of those individuals are defined as food insecure," said Ken Reggio, executive director of the Episcopal Community Services.
Dufty said helping the homeless requires a mix of conventional and unconventional ideas.
Dufty launched a pilot program in June that paid panhandlers to prepare dogs for adoption.
"I think you've got to do the nuts and bolts work and we're doing a lot of that and yet still, I think this is an opportunity to have a new idea," Dufty said.
Episcopal Community Services gives food preparation training to homeless and formerly homeless people and could help staff the truck.
"I think it's a good idea to pursue and see if it's a realistic option for connecting people in supportive housing with the food that they need," Reggio said.
Some Tenderloin residents said they're intrigued by the idea.
"It would also bring the cultures together because there are a lot of mixed people down here and they'll get to see the diversity," said Stanley Hall, a Tenderloin resident.
Dufty is still working out where funding for the truck will come from. But if it happens, he said he hopes the food will be good enough to attract foodies from all over the city to the Tenderloin.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.