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Travis Austin

We want get rid of the SRO hotels in San Francisco.

Use the city's eminent domain power to force sale and complete renovation of all SRO hotels and have them converted into multi-unit apartments.

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Anna

Hi Everyone!
Thanks for posting Travis.
@Tom K and others: I'd really like to get a balanced view of this and I am also struggling with the existence of the SROs.
I live in 'The Hub' where there are a lot of homeless people on the streets and several SROs. The neighborhood is also situated in between the Mission and 16th Navigation Center and the new Civic Center Hotel Navigation Center that is being put in.

I have written to a few journalists about this as well and am trying to get some legit understanding.
Most importantly, it doesn't help to be told that it's really terrible that I do not want to be around the smell of urine, the sight of used needles, and to be sexually harassed on the street. I think that's how a lot of the responses seem to those of us who resonate with Travis' desire to not have SROs around. Please try to meet us where we are.

So, the basic question that I REALLY don't understand is: Why should the city of SF house people on expensive real estate?
I've read about Utah's "HousingFirst" program and I am convinced that a person cannot get better without first feeling safe. It makes sense to me that the city should give people housing before they require those people to be off drugs or have a job interview, etc. What I don't understand is why the housing they provide has to be in or near the city's center? Why shouldn't the city fix up the SROs into expensive apartments and use the income from that to buy housing in the cheaper neighborhoods? I'm imagining townhouses or apartments in Visitacion Valley, Ingleside, or Hunter's Point. Or even working with another city to get housing near a BART station, like Daly City. Maybe the latter would be impossible to do because it requires cities working together, I'm not sure.
I also see the value in exposing people to safer circumstances and healthier social connections.

Looking forward to hearing some balanced perspective and political viewpoints if you are willing to share. :)
Thanks!

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Posted Mar 25, 2016
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Tom K.

Wonderful historic audio documentary about about living in temporary housing in NYC's Bowery. Although different from many SROs in SF, it's a good starting point for learning about the rich community that develops as people make a home in this type of housing.

99percentinvisible.org/episode...

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Posted Aug 7, 2015
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Henry

This is probably the worst idea I've ever heard. This will only intensify homelessness in the city and price out those who cannot afford to live here.

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Posted Oct 6, 2013
Bruce Wolfe
Bruce Wolfe
Oct 7, 2013

Agreed, Henry. Today, there's legislation being heard to prohibit access to our taxpayer funded parks during late night hours which will immediately increase this effect.

It would better serve Mr Austin to list this "want" as "I want all homeless and low-income people making less than than $1200/per month (the cost of a bedroom in a shared rental) to leave the City and County of SF"

Posted by Bruce Wolfe on Oct 7, 2013
Wendy
Wendy
Jan 29, 2014

Use the city's eminent domain power to force sale and turn into affordable housing for irregular and regular folks who makes less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI).

Posted by Wendy on Jan 29, 2014
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Tom K.

Good piece about SROs from Beyond Chron:

"San Francisco has created enough supportive housing in the past decade to pull about 9,000 homeless people into residential complexes staffed with counselors to help them get over the dysfunctions that put on the streets. But most residents and tourists who walk those streets notice little difference.

That's because there isn't enough counseling to go around for those who need it intensively …."

www.beyondchron.org/news/index...

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Posted Sep 24, 2013
Wendy
Wendy
Jan 29, 2014

It isn't just about counseling after housing. Those who want counseling can get it. It's also about opportunities (education, volunteering, employment, entrepreneurship) to incrementally increasing income and self sufficiency. Otherwise, the older unrehabilitated SROs is just another human warehouse that they can't hope to get any further life improvement.

Posted by Wendy on Jan 29, 2014
Wendy
Wendy
Jan 29, 2014

Use the city's eminent domain power to force sale and turn into affordable housing for irregular and regular folks who makes less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI).

Posted by Wendy on Jan 29, 2014
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Bruce Wolfe

This is a stupid notion. It doesn't even warrant it being an idea. If anything, it is bigotry.

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Posted Aug 13, 2013
Tyler
Tyler
Aug 14, 2013

Race or class or both?

Posted by Tyler on Aug 14, 2013
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Tom K.

Interesting piece:

"But the history of longterm SRO tenants. many of whom live in supportive housing, is very different. They have long been the driving force for improving the city’s SRO neighborhoods, which include Chinatown, the Mission, the Tenderloin and Sixth Street. While these tenants are at public hearings pushing for pedestrian safety, more police, and public improvements, irresponsible property owners stay on the sidelines. These property owners have long been a chief cause of problems in low-income neighborhoods and the biggest obstacles to improvement ---yet they are rarely blamed by the Chronicle and other critics of SRO tenants."

www.beyondchron.org/news/index...

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Posted Aug 13, 2013
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Brandon Cline

I used to work for a nonprofit called the AIDS Housing Alliance, we provided grants to folks who are either homeless and need a place to live OR about to be evicted and need rent money to stay in their home. I can tell you that most of the folks in SRO's are long-time SF residents on disability or SSI. Most of them get under $1000 a month income, have some mental or physical disability preventing them from working, and run into medical or personal situations that prevent them from paying rent consistently. We helped the ones with HIV/AIDS and other organizations help the folks with other diseases or urgent homeless realities (like domestic abuse survivors). A lot of these folks are substance abusers with deep underlying psychiatric, behavioral, and trauma-related issues. Most of these folks are isolated and have little family other than the community in and around the SRO. Lots of organizations are trying to help, there are services, but you can't force people like this to leave :(

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Posted Jun 28, 2013
Tom K.
Tom K.
Jun 28, 2013

So just for reference, the #safter6th project (where this idea originated) was planned by Safer 6th Street Coalition which includes Twitter: handbook.neighborland.com/safe...

Posted by Tom K. on Jun 28, 2013
Brandon Cline
Brandon Cline
Jul 1, 2013

Thanks Tom, I was out of town the weekend of the safer6th/Twitter event but that shouldn't stop me from talking to them. I support Twitter's involvement here but believe it's only the beginning given the broader Tenderloin/SoMa possibilities.

Posted by Brandon Cline on Jul 1, 2013
Brandon Cline
Brandon Cline
Jul 1, 2013

I'm committed to pro bono and feel like Twitter and other tech neighbors have an excellent opportunity to engage lots of local nonprofits beyond giving $ and episodic support, for me, it should be woven into the cultures and into employee lives. I'm working on that one... :)

Posted by Brandon Cline on Jul 1, 2013
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Brandi Valenza

This is grotesque. Just saying.

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Posted Jun 26, 2013
Travis Austin
Travis Austin
Jun 26, 2013

Yeah. You are "just saying." That's all anyone in this town is doing, and it's a big part of the problem.

Posted by Travis Austin on Jun 26, 2013
Brandi Valenza
Brandi Valenza
Jun 26, 2013

Yeah, you're right. Let's get right on top of that whole kicking the poor people out of their homes because *you* don't like them and their gross buildings and it's all just like ewwwwwwwww.

Posted by Brandi Valenza on Jun 26, 2013
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Tom K.

This is a really interesting article about disappearing SROs in Chicago that may helpful in understanding what purpose these places serve for people.

archpaper.com/news/articles.as...

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Posted Jun 25, 2013
Fay
Fay
Oct 7, 2013

Thanks Tom, for the article. Great insight.

Posted by Fay on Oct 7, 2013
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Britta

Where would the people living in the SROs go?

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Posted May 17, 2013
Tom K.
Tom K.
May 31, 2013

It's a great question, Britta. I recently watch this documentary and it made me really think about this idea a bit differently. www.openculture.com/2013/05/bu...

Posted by Tom K. on May 31, 2013
Brandi Valenza
Brandi Valenza
Jun 26, 2013

EXACTLY. Where would they go? Let's push everyone who doesn't conform to the new San Francisco standard out of San Francisco, those junkies and po' people need to GTFO! NIMBY!!! Ugh.

Posted by Brandi Valenza on Jun 26, 2013
Tom K.
Tom K.
Jun 26, 2013

One of the biggest issues is often SROs prevent many from becoming homeless. This is a helpful article about the disappearing Chicago SROs: archpaper.com/news/articles.as...

Posted by Tom K. on Jun 26, 2013
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