San Francisco officials fund $60,000 tents for the homeless, ask for another $20 million

San Francisco is paying $60,000 PER TENT for a homeless encampment and now city officials want another $20 million to extend the program for two years

  • Officials from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing have requested $20 million to operate six ‘Safe Sleeping Village’ encampments
  • The city’s six camp sites provide tents for the homeless as well as three meals a day, 24-hour security, bathrooms and showers
  • The program currently costs $18.2 million and funds 260 tents at six sites, totaling just over $60,000 per tent per year.
  • The department is asking the city for $15 million in the next fiscal year for a similar number of tents, which would amount to about $57,000 per tent per year.
  • The cost of the tents and the willingness to extend a program meant to be a short-term solution to the pandemic have been criticized










The San Francisco Department of Homelessness is seeking $20 million in additional funding to expand an encampment program that already funds tents that cost more than $60,000 a year.

This week, officials from the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing went to the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the Oversight Board and requested $20 million over the next two years to maintain six “Safe Sleeping Village” tent camps running.

The city’s six camp sites provide tents for the homeless as well as three meals a day, 24-hour security, bathrooms and showers, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The city created the sites in May 2020 at the height of the pandemic to keep the city’s homeless population away from crowded sidewalks and shelters, and into socially distanced campsites in the fresh air.

Campsites in San Francisco provide tents for the homeless as well as three meals a day, 24-hour security, bathrooms and showers

Officials from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing have requested $20 million to operate six 'Safe Sleeping Village' encampments

Officials from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing have requested $20 million to operate six ‘Safe Sleeping Village’ encampments

The program currently costs $18.2 million and funds 260 tents at six sites, totaling just over $60,000 per tent per year, twice the median cost of an apartment in the city.

The department is now asking the city for $15 million over the next fiscal year for a similar number of tents, which would amount to about $57,000 per tent per year, the Chronicle reported.

The additional $5 million will be for the 2022-23 fiscal year, when officials plan to significantly scale back the program.

The exorbitant cost of the tents and the city’s willingness to extend a program meant to be a short-term solution to the pandemic have been criticized.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai questioned the $20 million request, which she said “seems like an exorbitant amount for something we’re trying to get away from as quickly as possible.”

The cost of tents and the willingness to extend a program meant to be a short-term solution to help homeless <a class=people stay safe at the height of the pandemic have been criticized” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

The cost of tents and the willingness to extend a program meant to be a short-term solution to help homeless people stay safe at the height of the pandemic have been criticized

The homeless encampment program currently costs $18.2 million and funds 260 tents at six sites, totaling just over $60,000 per tent per year.

The homeless encampment program currently costs $18.2 million and funds 260 tents at six sites, totaling just over $60,000 per tent per year.

Gigi Whitley, deputy director of administration and finance for the homelessness department, pointed out that most of the funds are actually for security, meals and shower and bathroom rentals.

But supervisors at Wednesday’s meeting said the high cost needed to be reconsidered, the Chronicle said.

“It’s a big deal to have showers and bathrooms, and I don’t argue with that,” supervisor Hillary Ronen said. “But the cost just doesn’t make sense.”

The entire tent program is funded by Proposition C, a 2018 business tax measure that raises money for homeless services.

San Francisco is expected to spend more than $1 billion on homelessness over the next two years due to Proposition C, the Chronicle reported.

Homelessness is a persistent problem in some California cities, but San Francisco has become a hotbed for tent cities and transients.

When the Safe Sleeping Villages were originally erected, officials stressed that the sites were not a permanent solution to the city’s ongoing problems with the homeless population.

“The Safe Sleeping Village is a temporary approach and these areas will return to their previous uses once the shelter-in-place rules are lifted. The city will continue to work on safe, long-term solutions for homeless people,’ city spokesman Jonathan Streeter told the San Francisco Examiner in May 2020.

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