Benioff steps up with $6 million to remodel hotel to serve SF homeless

- San Francisco city leaders and the city's biggest business on Thursday announced a deal to create 58 units of housing aimed at getting people off the streets and back on their feet.

The Bristol Hotel at 56 Mason in the Tenderloin had been closed for years and it’s now being remodeled, renovated and will serve as “step up” housing, slated to open in February. It's is a way for people to move out of supportive housing and on to more independence.

The project had been in danger of collapsing, but the city reached out to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff, who stepped up-- donating more than $6 million to make this housing dream a reality-- that will allow rents here to stay in the $500 to $650 dollars per month range.

Benioff and city leaders say this is proof that public private partnerships are the way for the city to dig out of the homeless crisis once and for all. The donation will be used to pay for the first five years of the building's 20-year lease.

The mayor pointed out that this “step up” housing will create more space in supportive housing and navigation centers.

"This doesn't come along every single day. I started making the phone calls and not everyone said yes, but Marc Benioff said yes as soon as I asked him," Breed said.

"My top priority as mayor has been addressing this and we know that not one size fits all," Breed said. "Many people who are struggling with homelessness are struggling with mental illness and substance abuse disorders and those are challenges that we have to address in addition to providing 
safe and affordable places for people to call home."

Benioff also called out his fellow CEOs to step up and donate to make a better San Francisco.

Benioff said, "When it comes to ending homelessness, it doesn't take miracles, it takes money--and it takes a lot of money... That's why with the passage of Proposition C, the city will start collecting that money on Jan. 1.

"Bristol Hotel is a preview of what will come because the city will have the money to do it. Not just to do this but to do so many other things that are on our lists. It's the beginning of a parade of new 
investments to end homelessness in our city," he said.

Bay City News contributed to this report

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