San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2020
By Kevin Fagan
San Francisco’s Port Commission has agreed to let the city put 120 trailers and RVs on the big, empty Pier 94 in the Bayview neighborhood to shelter homeless people with underlying conditions that make them extra vulnerable to the coronavirus. The commission approved the plan with a 5-0 vote Tuesday night, and solidified final details Wednesday morning for bringing people into the vehicles. Street counselors and others working with people experiencing homelessness will choose who goes into the portable shelters, and the plan is to select people from street camps and shelters in the area. San Francisco’s supervisorial District 10, which includes the Bayview, has the second-highest concentration of homeless people in San Francisco — 1,800 in the last official count, all but 300 of whom are unsheltered. Pier 94 is east of Cargo Way, and just across the Islais Creek Channel from Pier 80, where the city installed a large, temporary shelter to take in homeless people around the time of the 2016 Super Bowl, held in Santa Clara County. The Pier 80 shelter was erected to help empty out the biggest tent encampment in San Francisco history, a sprawl of 350 people along Division Street. It’s only a slight coincidence that the best options for locating large, temporary shelters in 2016 and now wound up being little-used piers in the economically stressed Bayview — they are huge sites in a city short of usable open space, and ready for use right away. “We looked at several public lands —state, local and federal — and we ended up at the port for several reasons,” said Chandra Johnson, spokewoman for the city’s Human Services Agency, which will oversee the operation. “It’s challenging to find a space so large, 3-plus acres.” The vehicles consist of 91 trailers from California’s emergency coronavirus operation, and 29 RVs leased by the city. The site will be prepared with utilities and staffing, and the plan is to move people in next week.