SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos is pitching an out-of-the-box solution to the city’s homeless crisis that would get people in need off the streets and onto a ship.

It sounds like a wild idea, but Agnos says these are desperate times.

He wants to turn an old aircraft carrier — the USS Peleliu — into temporary housing for the homeless.

Agnos is floating the mothballed naval carrier as the latest solution to San Francisco’s homeless shelter crisis.

• ALSO READ: Our San Francisco Homeless Project Reports

“The USS Peleliu would be a game changer in the debate around homelessness,” said the former mayor. “Having them on a ship is a far better alternative than having them unsanitary and unsafe conditions on the streets of San Francisco.”

Believe it or not, the USS Peleliu has been used as a homeless shelter before.

“We did it for a short term in the 1989 after the Loma Prieta earthquake. We used it for approximately two weeks,” said Agnos. “People had a safe, clean, place to live with food and offices for people to use to service them. People were very happy. As a matter of fact, half of them wanted to go with the Navy after their trip ended.”

Still, parking even a small aircraft carrier at a local pier and using it as a homeless shelter seems a desperate move.

“I can tell you in my district in the Mission, it’s ground zero. We have dozens of people living on the streets and we don’t have enough places to put them,” said San Francisco Supervisor David Campos. “If it takes a decommissioned aircraft carrier to do that, I think we should consider it.

Homeless advocate Randy Shaw with the Tenderloin Housing Clinic countered that the idea is a waste of time.

“It’s a publicity thing and we are passed that point to be talking about silly solutions,” said Shaw.

Agnos argued that it offers a better solution with more space to house those in need.

“The thought that trying to do a navigation center that houses 25 to 30 people every six months in various neighborhoods is simply taking too much time for a crisis of these proportions,” said Agnos.

The proposal brought other questions from city officials.

“The question for me is what’s the city’s cost?” asked San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “Can it work?”

“Getting people onto the boat and off the boat…and things that can happen to people when they are on the boat,” said Shaw. “It just raises all the costs of everything.”

Even with his concerns, Supervisor Peskin wouldn’t discount the concept entirely.

“But it is an absolutely intriguing idea and I think we should take it seriously,” said Peskin.

When asked who would pay for the USS Peleliu, Agnos said, “We are already spending a quarter of a billion dollars in this city and look what we got.”

So far, the proposal has not gotten a response from Mayor Ed Lee’s office.

Comments (92)
  1. ERICH FRISCH says:

    Thanks Art, I been sayin’ that for decades!

    1. Great idea. Lets get the enviros on board, and the animal rights people helping too. Put all the illegals onboard. Send it out to sea. Sink it and you have a fish habitat. You have gotten rid of many illegals, and you will get rid of an old stinking diesel ship. Win, win, win situation.

  2. Terry Wood says:

    This has reached “crisis” proportions in San Francisco because of the extreme left and the sanctuary city government that welcomes all freeloaders in to the the city. The policies of this city government are resulting in the collapse of civil society in SF. Get rid of these liberal socialists and install a city government that is responsive to all the people and a lot of this would be cleaned up.

  3. John Gault says:

    Alleviate the “Sanctuary City” policy
    Arrest Vagrants
    Arrest Pan Handlers
    Vote Conservative

    Problem solved

    1. Lewis Goudy says:

      “Arrest vagrants.”
      “In a trio of cases in 1971 and 1972… the [Supreme] Court announced that vagrancy, loitering, and suspicious persons laws were unconstitutional.”

      1. AND… that killing babies was… right? 1972?

        You just get it over the line and you’re good-to-go forever.

        Think again meathead…

  4. buford says:

    Set it adrift after all have boarded. Then use as a target for military training.

  5. Ozzallos says:

    Soooo… Why do you have so many homeless that you need aircraft carriers to fill them? Or maybe its more of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thing for your oh so beautiful city, hmm?

    1. voiceofreasonoriginal says:

      programs for the homeless never actually solve the problem, they just attract MORE homeless people.

      kinda like feeding pigeons doesn’t make the pigeons you are feeding fly away full and satisfied, it just attracts more and more pigeons.

  6. I agree with Ozz, this looks like a way to hide the homeless from the rest of the city. I know they have the money, so why aren’t they building something in town?

  7. Michael Rowley says:

    Personally I vote for each and every city council man & woman, as well as all city officials be required to take into their personal homes a minimum of two (2) homeless people for an indefinite stay without billing the city/county for reimbursement. They created the situation, now it’s time to take a positive step!

  8. Peggy says:

    aircraft carriers weren’t built in accordance with required housing construction. exposed pipes, asbestos and other items are probably present. Bunk housing for the sailors would be considered “inhumane” by the left administration of S.Frisco. Maybe they should buy themselves a decommissioned cruse ship. OR figure out just how many people can actually properly live in the confines of the geographic area and what kind of housing is needed to do that. And maybe they ought to consider why they have so many people needing government-provided housing.

  9. Charles Lee Ray says:

    Typicak liberalmentality – don’t even address the causes of the problem.

  10. So when the carrier if stuffed full, and you still have more homeless on the streets, what next??

    And what’s your long term plan for the carrier? Are you going to be able to keep it habitable forever?

    Maybe social “scientists” should figure out what CAUSES homelessness first, and then figure out a cure second.

    Treating the symptom by putting homeless people of a friggin ship doesn’t seem like much of a long-term plan.

    It seems to me that programs for the homeless don’t help, all they do is attract more homeless.

    San Fran should be a “liberal utopia” what with all its taxes, regulations, gun control, and welfare programs. So I guess a “liberal utopia” looks like dirty homeless people shatting on the sidewalk.

  11. Berzrkr50 says:

    When people talk about visiting San Fransicko I always advise against it. That city is a toilet (literally)! The thing that irritates me the most is the aggressive panhandlers. They refuse to take no for an answer and will follow you around and harass you until you give in. And when you do, you better make it a dollar or it’ll continue! No, a better solution would be the big one; let the city slide off into the pacific!

  12. voiceofreasonoriginal says:

    This is what a high-tax, high-regulation, high-welfare “liberal utopia” looks like: homeless people shatting on the sidewalk, and ridiculous housing prices.

  13. The city would be better off filling the ship with its elected officials and uber-rich tech libbys, and setting sail for china where they can live in the communist utopia they dream of. Oh, and take Jerry Brown with you.

  14. amaya says:

    Great Idea to use the moth balled Aircraft Carriers as homeless shelters. IT is a great use of something that no longer is being put to use. Get it set up with electric and heating/air use the kitchen to serve meals when available. I know where I am out we have about 3 carriers that have been moth balled and just floating there doing nothing.

  15. Dj says:

    1. Fill the carrier with bums.
    2. Scuttle carrier in the pacific.

    3.Watch crime drop dramatically in SF.

  16. Dj says:

    San Francisco spends over $300,000,000 servicing less than 6000 bums. EVERY YEAR.
    Most of that goes to subsidizing flop house rentals.

    Imagine the good a city could do with $300,000,000 a year. They could do things like NOT TAX PEOPLE SO MUCH!

  17. Jeff Spicoli says:

    So Art finally got the dementia.

    Sick city full of sick people

  18. Lyle Petersen says:

    The USS Peleliu may have a large flat deck, but it is not an aircraft carrier. It is an amphibious assault ship.

    1. Although it is technically called an assaut ship helicopters and tilt wings (V-22 Osprey) operate from its flat deck and they are aircraft.

      1. Keith Wood says:

        Technically, there’s an oven in your kitchen, but that doesn’t make it a commercial bakery.

        “Aircraft Carrier” is a specific class of ship. The Pelelieu isn’t in that class.

    2. As I said, it is technically called an assault ship but literally it carries aircraft, that and its aircraft carrier-like appearance which would lead many to see it as an aircraft carrier. I am aware of the difference but what if SFO proposed moving the homeless to an assault ship? Can you imagine the political backlash?

    3. SFO’s ‘compassionate’ liberals claim that the homeless have ‘mental issues’ and no doubt some are mentally ill, but no more so than the pathologically guilt-ridden compassionate liberals that brought them there.
      TRUMP 2016!

  19. Of course the SFO city leaders are not doing this out of ‘compassion’, they are just fed up with seeing and smelling their poor charges. They will never admit that the easier it is to be homeless the more people will choose homelessness, like drug addiction. As a sanctuary city they were putting ‘homeless’ and illegals in apartments while some working Americans were living in cargo containers. A typical illegal household costs taxpayers about $130k per year. Do the math.
    TRUMP 2016!

  20. sue says:

    This is the result of insane city policies from sanctuary cities to rent control (why rent when you can refurbish a bit and sell the 1 BR for 1.5 million?), extreme and expensive requirements to build/remodel (your neighbors have more rights than you when it comes to ANY exterior change), high taxes (state, county and city), and H1 visa holders either jockeying for street housing or forcing American citizen workers to live on the streets (there are tents at numerous street corners housing people who have decent incomes – just not big enough to cover $2,000/month for a small 1 BR thanks to foreign workers).

  21. youknowwho says:

    How about all those wealthy liberals take them in and sponsor them? Oh, NIMBY.

  22. ObviousReally says:

    Send them to Mexico; Mexico is sending their undesirables.

  23. Chris Longski says:

    Getting the sanitation systems working etc will be quite a job. I hope the politicos know that !

  24. There are the true “Homeless”, the woman living in her car with her teen daughter after a string of economic woes and then there are the addicts, bums, sex offenders, and irresponsible that make up 90% of what we call homeless.

  25. Michael Bol says:

    Fill it up, then put that tub out to sea, problem solved

  26. Jim says:

    Who owns it? Often the navy still retains ownership of retired ships(including museum ones), so if that’s the case here then they would need navy permission. BTW it’s an amphibious assault ship not a regular carrier.

  27. Build it and they will come. When it’s full, tow it to Ensenada.

    1. Jimmy Wong says:

      Yes and make a pit stop in LA since we already get most of the Bay area overflow.

  28. Jimmy Wong says:

    Great! Do it and then sail it down to LA and pick up the ones down here.

  29. Ima says:

    God forbid the public ask how SF wound up in a “desperate” situation to begin with. SF is the living, textbook definition of insanity.

  30. Grapost says:

    Why even bother with a ship when there is plenty of empty warehouse building space in the area the city could rent and use for the same purpose.

  31. Dave says:

    First of all, the USS Peleliu is an Amphibious Assault ship. The ships main role is to deliver Marines in amphibious assault vehicles and helicopters to a beach head. It carries 6 Harrier aircraft for air to ground support for the Marines. It is not an Aircraft Carrier, it is only 40% the size of an aircraft carrier, it’s has a completely different role and mission than an aircraft carrier. Come on man, I was a lowly SP4 in the Army back in the early 80’s and I know this and college educated so call journalist can’t figure this out? It only takes seconds to Google this info.
    Also, just Fuq san fran, just fuq.

  32. The liberals who have caused this problem have never served aboard a Navy ship nor have they thought through the implications of what they are contemplating.

    Who will prepare and serve the food?
    Who will maintain the electrical and plumbing systems?
    Who will maintain the environmental system?
    Who will maintain cleanliness and collect the garbage?
    Who will keep order and provide security?

    They see a Navy warship and think it is a fully staffed cruise ship.

    1. Dave says:

      The decommissioned ship still belongs to the US Navy and the Navy may have other plans for it. What type of condition is it currently in? Much of the inner workings of the ship may have been striped and salvaged by now, and may be little more than a hulk. The Pelelui is likely filled with all types of hazardous and toxic materials. As anyone who has ever owned any boat knows, they are money pits and require constant continuous maintenance, even when just sitting at a dock. It would likely be less expensive and much easier for the city to buy an old used cruise ship to house the homeless than to try and use the Peleiu.

      1. James Cygnus says:

        The liberals behind this “plan” know full well the risks – it’s actually a very calculated plan to kill 2 birds with 1 stone: APPEAR to help the “homeless” while setting up the Federal government and the military for a huge black eye and massive lawsuit. Remember, when it comes to liberals the ends always justify the means.

  33. You can put 5,000 people on an aircraft carrier. Can you even imagine the level of crime in those cramped spaces. Crew quarters are not exactly luxurious, they are small and cramped. sure people put up with it for two weeks. They knew there was an end to the inconvenience. If it became a ” permanent” location, there would be graffiti, rapes, murders, robberies, many other forms of crime and enormous amount of filth. You have to know that sanitary conditions would be horrendous immediately. People would go crazy from the confinement alone. Who thought this would be a good idea? San Francisco used to be a little jewel of a city by the bay. Now it’s a dumping grounds that harbors illegals (especially illegal criminals) and allows the homeless to defecate on the sidewalks and camp in people’s gardens. Transferring the problems to an aircraft carrier won’t solve the problems, it will just create a whole world of new ones.

  34. Mike Arvand says:

    Sounds like a perfect place to round up all the illegals and liberals, then ship them off to be someone elses problem, According to Al Gore, Antarctica should be quite cozy and habitable with all this global warming. Wonder if there’s enough space on an aircraft carrier for all the stupid liberals in CA…. might have to make more than one trip.

  35. > He wants to turn an old aircraft carrier — the USS Peleliu — into
    > temporary housing for the homeless.

    Temporary? Is there anything more permanent, than “temporary” solutions from politicians? NYC still has rent-control, for example, introduced “temporarily” in 1943 to stop landlords from “exploiting” families of soldiers fighting the war…

  36. USS Kawten Pickler says:

    Leave it to the left to dream up new and novel plantations.

  37. USS Kawten Pickler says:

    Yeah, the USS Condo Coral Reef.

  38. Coy Coleman says:

    Load it up with Illegals, Spiceheads, Bums, Hobos, and Mentally Ill Democrats… set sail or tow it out to a shark infested area and hold a SINKEX.

  39. Jesse Edwards says:

    It won’t be a “crisis” until a Republican can be blamed.

  40. tallie jones says:

    instead, lets put the elites on the aircraft carrier and see how long they can fend for themselves, parasites, all of them.

  41. ChrisGC says:

    One question………..Who is going to pay for this?

    It’s a rhetorical question. Anyone with enough brain power to feed themselves kn ows that in the end it will be the taxpayers who foot the bill.

  42. Bill Gates says:

    These people should be taken into the homes of the well to do and almost well to do in SF. Where is the COMPASSION for these poor people? Sticking them on a boat out in Bay? Where? Up Delta in the Suisun Bay area? They’ll die of exposure…cowardly city leaders shuffling the problem under the rug. I am aghast!!!

  43. melvin says:

    I remember when that ship was brand spanking new. As far as those concerned about asbestos, there is none asbestos was phased out long before this ship reached the planning stages. I spent a fair amount of time on naval vessels that preceded the USS Peleliu.
    For starters one cannot just park the thing pier side and put the key to the front door under a mat. Even though these ships are made out of steel, they are a living breathing entity. Once brought back to life, they need constant professional attention to keep the lights on, water running and the toilets unplugged. It also takes funding, insurance. Who is going to provide security, there are part to the ship that don’t mix well with humans and especially when humans are under the influence. Its a long way to to the pier from the top of the flight deck.
    Ships need cleaning around the clock or they turn into a giant petri dish of creatures from the black lagoon.
    In a perfect world, and cooperative homeless people, this suggestion would be better than sliced cheese. Unfortunately many homeless are not the most accommodating creatures in the world. Many of my best memories and friends came off these very naval ships.

  44. banger377 says:

    The biggest threat to life and limb on any ship is fire. You put thousands of drunken bums on a ship and there WILL be a fire. Maybe that’s your way to get rid of them? Another is the filth. Who’s going to clean that mess up? How did this ex mayor become a mayor in the first place? Dumbbell.

  45. James Cygnus says:

    And when all these useless parasites contract all sorts of mysterious “conditions” or “syndromes”, it will be blamed on the ship and, you guessed: the U.S. military. There will be class action lawsuits, San Francisco will join with the bums and go after Uncle Sam and the DoD for billions.

  46. Truth is always black & white says:

    Just another reason not to go to San Francisco. Next the mayor will be recommending that they be resettled onto Alcatraz.

    Maybe what they should offer is free, mandatory sterilization to at least try and contain the problem. I have a hunch if they did, they’d see a large percentage leave the city and head down to LA instead. Good old Cali, the land of fruits, flakes, nuts and now non-working escapees from society.

  47. Jack Inmanz says:

    Get them all loaded up, hook all your tugboats to the ship, and out to sea they go. Problem solved.

  48. TheMadKing says:

    Funny. There was a skit on SNL back in 1988 with Jon Lovitz as Michael Dukakis in a room full of off-the-wall progressives, one of whom was painting a picture of an aircraft carrier being converted into a homeless shelter. Comedy imitating life, or life imitating comedy?

  49. These people don’t want a solution to homeless living on our streets. San Francisco doesn’t want a solution either. If it did – this city would solve the problem. Not hard folks. I would personally donate a 1,000 acres of beautiful California ranch land – if San Francisco would choose to fix the problem. “Camp San Francisco” is a good idea. Every homeless person ticketed for vagrancy, camping, aggressively begging, sitting and lying all over the place – serves six months for every ticket, every time. Serving time at Camp San Francisco, mending fences, receiving health services, answering the chow bell – three times a day. An aircraft carrier? is a bird brain idea. Camp San Francisco would provide real solutions for real people in real need.

  50. Sailorcurt says:

    The USS Peleliu is not an aircraft carrier, it is an amphibious assault ship. Oh…wait…silly me, expecting a “news” outlet to do basic fact checking before printing a story. They’re journalists, how unreasonable and unrealistic of me to expect accuracy.

    “We are already spending a quarter of a billion dollars in this city and look what we got.”

    Um…I think I’ve identified your problem.

    Hey, why don’t you ask…say…Louisville Kentucky for example…how much they’ve spent coddling “the homeless” and then ask yourself “Self: I wonder if that might be related to how out of control our “homeless problem” is?”

  51. JonKelly says:

    did they tell them that once they are housed the ship will set sail?

  52. Jack says:

    Are the homeless going to be trained in Damage control if there is a leak in the bilge or flooding? Are they going to be trained in shipboard safety? Are they going to be trained in Firefighting if a fire breaks out in a compartment? Are they going to be trained in how to get out of their living space if the power goes off? If anything happens on-board it could turn in to a literal death trap for the homeless. A simple minded moron would only think of housing homeless on-board a decommissioned warship.

  53. nario says:


  54. John McIntyre says:

    It’s been done before, you know. Google “prison hulk”. A convenient way to get unwanted folks off the streets and into the harbor. I guess they’ll be bringing back “poor houses”, too. Show of hands now, who’s in favor of shipping them off to Australia?

  55. docfarmer says:

    I have to admit, it’s an intriguing concept. It would be very interesting to see the costs and logistics involved…

  56. The issue isn’t the homeless, it’s the liberal self righteous idiots spending a quarter of a billion dollars on a bad plan only to still have a complete cesspool for a city. Let’s take it one step further then I’m on board with this idea…let’s load all of the liberals running this mess onto that aircraft carrier as well and ship them all off to the the middle of the Ocean. Then, and only then, can we begin to logically fix this toilet.

  57. Peter York says:

    Reminds one of the hulks in the Thames River which were crowded with more and more convict prisoners who couldn’t be ‘transportationed’ to America after the war, so they sent em to Oz. I DO NOT advocate sending them all the way down under! Maybe, half way…

  58. boB says:

    Typical liberal. Find ways to KEEP them homeless with no future instead of offering them city jobs to clean parks, and other work. They could give them showers and a change of clothes so they could interview for jobs after job training, but no, let’s throw them in the bowels of a ship to keep them that way – oh, and I’m sure those closed hallways 5 stories down will be safe and drug-free, right?

  59. ivillageidiot says:

    Ah… what if we NEED… the Carrier?

    If you allow this, you could make the same argument for ANY of the mothballed fleet. To the point that THERE IS NO LONGER A MOTHBALL FLEET?!!!?

    Maybe that is the point, huh?

  60. Michael Thomas says:

    USS Peleliu (LHA-%) is not an aircraft carrier, it is a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship. Good reporting there guys.

  61. Richard Xlin says:

    Even though this is not really an aircraft carrier, I lived on one when I was in the Navy. There would be a lot of problems using this for shelter. Mainly, they are dangerous. There is all kinds of things to run into and trip over. You have to really pay attention — especially if you are over six feet tall. Plus the ladders between decks are really steep. Then there are the issues with privacy. The bays are designed to sleep something like 75 people. Then there is all of the code standards to meet.

    not sure they have thought this all the way through.

    1. jimkress35 says:

      The Left doesn’t think. They just “feel”. Logic is an alien concept to them.

  62. Lynn Wood says:

    Wait a minute. you mean the tech giants haven’t locked up this additional real estate housing resource for their own purpose.

    Time to get on the Federal Representatives to turn this thing around.

    What San Francisco needs is a system of internal passports and residence permits.Yes, A wall, a big beautiful wall backed by facial recognition, gait recognition, DNA recognition for enforcement. Why, security drones could be used, a drone assigned to every person fro tracking.

    We have the Technology to do this. So why not do it???Yeah. Yeah.

  63. jimkress35 says:

    Aren’t these the same people who refused to allow a Battleship to be moored and kept as a National Monument?

    Why should they be allowed to use an Aircraft carrier?

  64. JDB, Esq. says:

    I don’t live in San Francisco, but the homeless, or campers without addresses, are increasing at an incredible rate.

  65. Send the homeless to Nancy Pelosis’ estate. She’s rich and needs to do her part.

  66. styrgwillidar says:

    It would be better to try and find (or have built) the ‘berthing barges’ the Navy uses when ships are in overhaul to house their crews. These contain the basic facilities to be floating hotels with virtually no ‘wasted space’ that exists on a warship for housing equipment/combat systems etc.

    The problem with USS PELELIU is that you’d need a fairly significant number of folks to man and maintain the various systems. Potable water, heaters, lighting, ventilation, electricity– even though they’d be hooked to shore services the ship side of it needs to be maintained. The galleys, refrigeration spaces etc. if you plan on feeding the homeless on there as well. Moving all that around on the ship then means you need to maintain the elevators, cargo handling equipment. That’s on top of basic maintenance of busting rust/painting/preservation.

    There’s a significant amount of space that would just be a waste. Ammunition magazines, fuel pump rooms, engineering spaces. the well deck, hangar deck, supply storerooms. A lot of nooks and cranny’s to hide in, commit crime and you wouldn’t believe the number of switches valves that curious and bored folks could activate and cause a lot of damage and injury.

  67. RedRed Robin says:

    The beauty of the program is the A/C carrier will sail into the open ocean & launch each bum off the nose via the steam catapult.

  68. RedRed Robin says:

    I understand Tom Cruise is going to star in a movie based on this idea, “TOP BUM”

  69. josetoyou says:

    Insanity… Providing services for the homeless just encourages more of them!
    Most are there by choice, and everything they occupy turns into a cesspool of filth.

  70. jeff rogers says:

    Ex USS Kittyhawk is available for tow from bremerton wa…………you can buy it for a steel.

  71. Proudly Unaffiliated says:

    There are not enough ships to deal with this. Bottom line: if you tolerate the homeless, you will have more.

  72. Freeland_Dave says:

    In one word, NO! The Navy shouldn’t give SF anything else. SF has treated all of our military despicably since Dianne Feinstine was a stupidizer there. Tell SF to pound sand.

  73. Kawika says:

    ex-USS Peleliu (LHA-5) Is being held in Reserve (Cat B) at Pearl Harbor. As a warship, it is unsuited for civilian use as a homeless shelter. The passageways are lined with headbangers, knee knockers and other hazards and the berthing quarters are cramped. Even if the Navy were inclined to “loan” the ship (which I’m sure it’s not), the costs to tow it to SF, hook up and maintain electrical, water, and CHT hookups, clean and maintain the ship would be astronomical on a per-person basis. It would be much more economical to lease an older cruise ship with civilian amenities and a lower costs, as well as safer for civilians to live aboard. Better yet would be shelters on land without the inherent costs incurred by having any ship tied to the waterfront. Former barracks at the Presidio or even Treasure Island might be an option.