S.F. Pays $61,000 A Year For One Tent In A Site To Shelter The Homeless

The cost of a tent comes to 2.5 times the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in San Francisco

San Francisco has charged taxpayers $16.1 million to shelter more than 300 people experiencing homelessness in the city, according to reports.

The 262 tents used, which with services and food cost taxpayers about $61,000 apiece, are set up in six public lots called “Safe Sleeping Villages,” where officials also offer food and other services such as bathrooms and 24-hour security to the city’s homeless, the San Fransisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

San Fransisco Mayor London Breed announced the city’s first Safe Sleeping Village in series of tweets on May 15, 2020.

“During normal times, two of the main ways we help people out of homelessness are shelter placements and homeward bound, where we connect people with a relative or friend willing to take them in. Because of COVID-19, both of these have been severely limited, tying our hands,” Breed tweeted at the time.

She added that the city has added 1,000 new shelter beds since she took office in 2018 and that it has had to reduce shelter capacity by 76% because of the pandemic and social distancing requirements to help prevent the spread of the virus. While thousands of people experiencing homelessness have been set up in hotels, Breed expressed concerns about the “logistical challenges” of such an effort.

“We frankly do not have many other options right now,” the mayor wrote. “Having places with resources serving people in the neighborhood is better than unsanctioned encampments.”

The cost of one tent spot in one lot comes to $190 per night, about two-and-a-half times the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. The cost of one tent is also, however, $82 less than the city’s homeless hotel program, which costs taxpayers about $21 million per month.

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