Plans to create permanent homeless housing at SF Japantown Hotel Face Pushback – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A San Francisco effort to get more homeless people off the streets is facing a funding deadline and a lot of resistance in the Japantown neighborhood.

Since the start of the pandemic, San Francisco has hosted thousands of homeless people in hotels across the city. The Buchanan Hotel in Japantown is just one of them, but the city is now interested in purchasing some of these hotels as permanent supportive housing.

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“You know, the community was okay with the city using it as a temporary shelter during the pandemic,” said Paul Osaki, executive director of the Japanese Culture & Community Center. “I supported him 100%. It just made sense. But not as long-term permanent supportive housing.

Osaki is among thousands of neighborhood residents who have signed a petition to stop the city’s efforts to buy the property.

“The Buchanan Hotel attracts 40 to 50,000 tourists to Japantown each year,” Osaki explained. “It’s a huge loss. It is an economic loss for this community. It just doesn’t make sense.

“So the residents of the Excelsior and the foreign mission are ready to accept this,” said Ahsha Safai, district 11 supervisor. “There are going to be some pitfalls along the way, but eventually people have come together. and said we need to step up and do our fair share. “

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Safai was talking about a different property in the Outer Mission, the Mission Inn. He says it took extensive outreach, but neighbors agree to make Mission Inn a permanent supportive housing site. The deal will also come in time to meet a state-set deadline for funding the state’s Homekey project.

“We cannot complain about the state of the streets, we cannot say that we have to resolve this crisis and point the finger at the mayor,” Safai said. “Or point the finger at members of the board of directors, elected officials or municipal services, then say ‘But still, not here’. “

Back in Buchanan, pushback from neighbors caused the city to suspend plans to buy here. A search is underway for other hotels that may encounter less resistance before the state funding deadline.

“I understand the need for supportive housing,” says Osaki. “I support him 100%. In fact, if there was another place in Japantown that made sense, I would absolutely support it. “

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