The Vehicle Triage Center will include up to 30 parking spaces, 24/7 security, lighting, electricity, bathrooms, access to shower facilities, potable water, and mobile blackwater pumping services. Urban Alchemy will provide peer support and security for people staying at the Vehicle Triage Center.
"As we work to expand capacity across our homeless response system and get people off the streets, this Vehicle Triage Center provides an important place for people who are living in RVs or in their cars to have regular access to the restroom, and other basic services," said Mayor Breed. "The new Center will offer people living in their vehicles with an opportunity to connect with services and more forward on their path out of homelessness."
"I am proud that our District will be the first to open a Safe Parking facility in the City's history," said Supervisor Safaí. "Our community has worked diligently with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing over the past six months to create a successful program. We know 30 parking spots is not enough and we are looking forward to seeing this program grow and replicated in other parts of San Francisco."
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"It's going to take time to build our way out of this housing crisis and in the interim we need an array of solutions," said Supervisor Brown. "With the opening of this vehicle triage center, we are providing greater safety and dignity to people who depend on their cars for shelter and more. This is a solution tailored to one of the fastest growing groups experiencing homelessness."
The San Francisco 2019 Point in Time Count found 8,011 people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco on any given night. 65% of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco are living unsheltered on our streets, in encampments, or vehicles. A majority of the increase in people experiencing unsheltered homelessness was the result of a higher number of people living in vehicles.
People living in their vehicles have many different needs—some are highly vulnerable and have experienced homelessness for many years, and others are working and unable to afford housing. Nationally, communities are working to respond to this increasing need and no national best practices have emerged to date.
In April 2019, the Board of Supervisors passed Supervisor Safaí and Supervisor Brown's ordinance to create a pilot vehicle triage center to address the rise in vehicular homelessness. On July 15, 2019, Supervisor Safaí announced a proposal for a one-year pilot program to operate a Vehicle Triage Center at a parking lot in Balboa Park at the intersection of Geneva and San Jose Avenues.
"This pilot is an example of the kind of collaboration and openness to welcoming people experiencing homelessness into our communities that San Francisco sorely needs," said Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH). "HSH looks forward to this pilot and learning together with our partners, guests of the VTC and the surrounding community about what is most effective in serving people living in their vehicles so that they can get connected to services and ultimately end their experience of homelessness.
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"Urban Alchemy is proud to be a part of the new generation of strategies and services designed to support the needs of displaced individuals," said Urban Alchemy Executive Director, Lena Miller. "Urban Alchemy maintains a deep belief and philosophy that we must create safe, calm and beautiful spaces and services for displaced and unhoused individuals in order to facilitate their personal healing process and support them on their journey to stable and sustainable housing. We strive to uphold this commitment to quality and love in all of our interactions with the community and throughout all of our services. We are proud to join the team of thought leaders and innovators at HSH, the HOT team, and the Mayor's Office to create and innovate services that support our City's most vulnerable residents."
HSH's Vehicle Encampment Resolution Team (VERT), a part of its Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), and partners will work with people living in their vehicles and build best practices for future interventions for people living in their vehicles. VERT will manage the outreach and engagement process based on the needs of the community they serve. VERT has already begun to survey those living in their vehicles to determine their needs and interest in services, offer Coordinated Entry Assessments, and identify those potentially interested in the Vehicle Triage Center.
All eligible participants will need to have completed a Coordinated Entry Assessment prior to being admitted to the Vehicle Triage Center. Coordinated Entry Assessments are available to any person experiencing homelessness by visiting an Access Point, through HOT/VERT, or requesting a mobile assessment. The Vehicle Triage Center will allow clients to either store their vehicle and enter a Temporary Shelter or reside in their vehicle onsite while accessing services. People will be allowed to stay onsite for up to 90 days, with options for renewal.
Mission Housing and the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development will be building 130 units of affordable housing on the site, which is expected to break ground in fall 2020. The Vehicle Triage Center will operate on the site until construction begins.
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