Residents of a wealthy community in San Francisco — one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. — have raised more than $60,000 to stop a new homeless shelter from being built.
According to The Independent, the campaign is seeking to stop the construction of a homeless shelter in the South Beach neighborhood, near the city’s famous Embarcadero. Listings on real estate site Redfin show homes selling for anywhere between $800,000 and $3,000,000. Meanwhile, there are approximately 7,500 homeless people in San Francisco according to the 2017 “homeless census,” and less than half of them are sheltered.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the money being raised is going toward hiring lawyers to fight the 200-bed “navigation center,” which would be on a 2.3-acre plot located across from ports 30-32 of the Embarcadero. Attorneys with the firm Zacks, Freedman & Patterson have apparently already sent public records request to the office of San Francisco mayor London Breed asking how the city would pay for its construction and operation.
“South Beach, Rincon Hill, Bayside Village, East Cut & Mission Bay residents, businesses and other interested parties are organizing to oppose the Navigation Center proposed for Seawall Lot 330,” the “Safe Embarcadero for All” crowdfunding campaign reads. “Given the multiple interested parties, potential legal costs and restrictions on the Boards of our HOAs from taking independent action, our new group, Safe Embarcadero for All, invites you to join us.”
“The monies will be sent to retained legal counsel – directly from this account if possible,” the innocuously worded campaign states.
However, others in support of the shelter launched a rival GoFundMe campaign, which has already raised roughly $35,000 of its $50,000 goal as of this writing. The language of the campaign almost exactly mirrors the initial GoFundMe, except its name is “Safer Embarcadero for All.”
“I hope you raise enough funds to put shelters in every neighborhood of the city. We have a responsibility to take care of one another. I so glad to see this getting the response it is,” one donor wrote. “Thank you for all your work.”
“San Francisco is the only city outside India where I’ve seen children begging on the street,” another donor wrote.
The rival campaign is currently trending on GoFundMe, and according to The Guardian, received a $5,000 donation from GoFundMe itself.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.