San Francisco supervisors pass ordinance to offer shelter to all homeless people willing to accept it

A new city policy was adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The board unanimously passed the so-called ‘A Place for All’ ordinance that would require all people experiencing homelessness be offered shelter by the city if they are willing to accept help. 

District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman was the lead author of the ordinance. "This vote is a statement that our sidewalks can no longer serve as the waiting room for permanent supportive housing," he said. "Today the Board affirmed that we are, in fact, responsible for providing every unsheltered person a safe, dignified place to sleep."

Under the new ordinance, the city's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing must prepare an implementation plan by December 31, 2022. That would include an estimate of how many people are expected to accept the offer of shelter and the costs involved in housing those people as well as the cost of running the program. 

"For the first time, the City will prepare a plan for providing sufficient shelter and housing to address our street sleeping crisis. We can end the suffering on our streets for thousands of unhoused residents and bring relief to our neighborhoods," said Mark Nagel, co-founder of RescueSF, a coalition of residents and small business owners seeking solutions to homelessness.

In a press release from Sup. Mandelman's office, the city will create and maintain a list of prospective locations – lots, facilities – that would be appropriate to create shelters, tiny home communities and safe sleeping sites. 

The city's homeless department will be required to update the estimated number of unsheltered people who may be expected to accept a shelter bed every year. Reports evaluating the implementation of the program can be expected every two years through the city. 

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The new program seeks to increase transparency on the availability of homeless shelter available, according to Mandelman's office.  

"Providing shelter for all is an act of basic humanity, it is intimately related to what is happening on our sidewalks, and it should not have taken San Francisco this long to adopt such a common sense policy" said Mandelman. "Now the hard work of planning for implementation and securing funding begins."