SF mayor hopes to add 1,000 shelter beds over next 2 years

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is planning to add 1,000 new shelter beds for homeless people over the next two years.

Breed says it will the largest expansion of shelter beds in San Francisco in 30 years. Currently San Francisco has a waiting list for shelter beds of close a thousand names long.

"You see people sleeping on the streets in the daytime. We have a rel struggle here. We have to have a place for people to go," said Breed. 

San Francisco currently has  about 2,500 shelter beds. Breed says the shelters will also help get homeless people connected with services.

"We want to be able to track the number of homeless people and direct them to the right place, so it is a coordinated system," she said. 

The plan has the support of the advocacy group the coalition on homelessness.

"We have a situation for homeless folks when they are on the street , their health outcomes are poor. When they are in shelters it is much better," said Jennifer Friedenbach heads the Coalition On Homelessness.

Breed says most of the beds will be located in three new shelters she is calling SAFE centers. She isn't saying yet where those shelters will be, but that they will be open around the clock, and allow partners to stay together. Other beds will be available in the city's navigation centers.

On the streets., the idea is getting mixed reviews. Some homeless people say they like the expansion of beds. But large shelters are clearly not for everyone.

"I have severe PTSD. And this mayor doesn't understand the navy or other military personnel who can't be in these damn shelters," said Daniel Foos who says he has been homeless for more than 20 years. 

 "We know there are some people struggling with mental illness and substance abuse and that is a real challenge," said Breed.

Two more navigation centers are set to open in the next few months. Breed says, 500 of the new shelter beds should be ready by next summer.