SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The question of how San Francisco would handle the homeless during Super Bowl 50 festivities has been a point of speculation, but on Thursday officials unveiled a new temporary shelter that is nearly set to open.
Ironically, the site is connected to another recent major, and at times controversial, sporting event that took place in the city.
Last summer, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee made his intentions clear when it came to what the city would do about the homeless population during Super Bowl 50.
“You’re gonna have to leave, said Mayor Lee. We’ll give you an alternative — we’re always gonna be supportive — but you’re gonna have to leave the streets.”
It doesn’t look like the most welcoming place, but city officials are hoping 150 homeless will be willing to call the hangar at Pier 27/29 that once housed America’s Cup Team USA home, at least temporarily.
The space is tentatively set to open next week.
The 10,000-square-foot tent is tucked away inside the hangar, hidden in an industrial part of the city that is out of sight from tourists visiting for the Super Bowl.
“By having this tent here we think we can get more people to take us up on our offer to come indoors get out of the wet weather,” said Director of Human Services Trent Rohrer.
Rohrer maintains the timing of the shelter’s opening is purely coincidental.
“Well, I think folks would say, ‘What’s the timing of El Nino?’ El Nino is in winter time. Super Bowl is in winter time,” said Rohrer.
The city is waiting on the San Francisco Fire Department and building inspectors permits before it can open. Officials are hoping that will happen by the end of next week.
But the shelter isn’t in a heavily populated part of the city. Even fewer homeless are in the area.
When asked if he thought anyone would go to the shelter, homeless San Francisco resident Rolf Stagg was unsure.
“It’s too far out. I don’t think so. Not from here. These people here will not go there,” said Stagg.
Human Services says the location is circumstantial and not an effort to cover up of the city’s unsavory homeless problem. The pier is one of the few places big enough to house it without conflicting occupancy.
It is stocked with hygiene kits, beds and other supplies.
But whether the homeless will come to fill it has yet to be seen.
“I’m not going to go,” said Stagg. “I will go up here or down there; clear out of this area.”
Officials say they will rely on outreach efforts, police and nonprofits to help spur people to come to the shelter. The Department of Human Services says they will have to keep the barbed wire up around the shelter because the port requires a higher level of security.