Friday, November 22, 2013

Update on SF's Long-Delayed LGBT Shelter in the Mission

Earlier this week, I dropped in at Bevan Dufty's office at City Hall to see what he was up to as Mayor Ed Lee's homeless czar. I asked what was happening with the long-delayed opening of the 24-bed queer shelter in the Mission district, that has been in development for nearly four-years now.

Bevan asked Wendy Philips, the executive director of Dolores Street Community Services, the agency overseeing the project that will eventually operate the facility for homeless LGBT people, to provide me with an update and she sent this informative reply:

The current status of the project is that we are waiting for approval of building permits by the Department of Building Inspection. Before those are approved, however, the plans also have to be reviewed by the Mayor’s Office on Disability. This review process will begin in early December. 

Simultaneously, we are soliciting contractors to do asbestos abatement throughout the entire building. The abatement itself will happen in late December/ early January. Then once that is done, and we get the building permits, we will be doing several upgrades to the building, including rehabilitation and addition of bathrooms and showers, as well as accessibility and fire safety upgrades. 

We are not sure at this point how long this all will take, so prefer not to guess at an opening date quite yet. But the entire project team is working diligently to ensure that it does open as soon as humanly and bureaucratically possible! 

Swinerton Builders is the firm doing pro-bono construction management. The construction costs themselves will be covered by local funding through the Human Services Agency and federal funding from a Community Development Block Grant through the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

Thanks, Bevan for putting Wendy in touch with me and thanks, Wendy for the new information..

Since the queer shelter is located in out gay Supervisor David Campos' district, and who IMHO has not devoted nearly enough personal or staffer time and energy to getting the facility open already, I cruised over to his Facebook page and Twitter feed looking for any updates from him on the project.
None were to be found, but I did learn that his campaign for the November 2014 election for state assembly received the endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters this week and yesterday a fundraiser in a private home was held to raise cash for his campaign.

Hey, David, in addition to running for higher office, how about sharing weekly updates on the queer shelter with us, maybe stage a photo-op at the site showing how you're keeping tabs on the rehab work?


wendy phillips said...

Hi Michael,
Thank you for updating the community about the LGBT-focused shelter.
I just want to clarify that David Campos' office has been very involved and committed to keep this project moving forward. Most recently, he advocated with the Department of Building Inspection to request that the permit review for the project be prioritized due to the high need for this shelter to get online as soon as possible. They have also worked with us to address concerns of nearby neighbors who have general concerns about homeless individuals in the neighborhood, and therefore were concerned about the expansion of the shelter.

Rusty said...

Four years, and it sounds like they haven't even started yet. But I'll bet they've already spent plenty of money on this project.

Here's an appropriate motto for the City of San Francisco to adopt: "Incompetence is our most important product."

Michael Petrelis said...

Hi Wendy, Thanks for the info on Campos. He has his own duties to keep the community informed and with three paid staffers, I think he should do a better job of engagement on a weekly basis about the shelter.

Hi Rusty, I know what you mean. Sure would be great to know what the total cost of this project has come to thus far.