San Francisco supervisor unveils plans for triage center for people living in vehicles

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai on Monday unveiled plans for 
a Vehicle Triage Center, offering safe parking and access to social services for people living out of their vehicles.

The proposed location would be in the 500 block of Geneva Avenue, located in the city's Outer Mission neighborhood.

"More and more we are seeing people living in their vehicles in our district and around the city," Safai said in a statement. "It is critical that as city leaders, we work together to address this crisis of 

Back in April, supervisors unanimously passed legislation to make the triage center possible.

Because the space is currently the future site of Balboa Upper Yards, a 138-unit affordable housing complex, the site would only be used as a pilot location for the Vehicle Triage Center, with construction on the housing complex not scheduled to start until fall 2020.

In the meantime, Safai and Supervisor Vallie Brown want to transform it into a triage center. 

In order to fund the pilot program, Mayor London Breed has committed $1 million and supervisors have allocated an additional $200,000 annually.

"We need to help everyone who is struggling with homelessness in our city, including those who are living in vehicles on our streets," Breed said.

The proposed center would provide bathrooms, sanitation services, lighting, community ambassadors to provide security, and on-site staff able to connect residents to social services and permanent housing solutions. The center would hold up to 33 vehicles, with residents being allowed to stay for up to 90 days and begin the process of getting into more permanent housing. 

Safai told KTVU the security would be 24 hours and that the center would have privacy screening so "everyone's not going to be on display." 

Safai's office is set to hold a community meeting for the neighborhood's residents on Saturday at Balboa High School, starting at 11 a.m.

Neighbors in the Ingleside and Balboa Park area said they are open to the idea of a centralized location for those using their vehicles for shelters. 

"I like the idea...because you do see there're RVs and people living in them and all that," said Maria Cecilia. 

Others said the idea sounds good, but want more details. Mickey Damapong, an area resident, said bringing people to this center might cause some people who use BART or walk home late at night to feel "scared" or not secure. 

Later this month, Safai is expected to introduce a planning code change that would get the center up and running.

KTVU's Christien Kafton contributed to this report.