SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The proposal to locate a homeless shelter on San Francisco’s waterfront is an idea as polarizing as the Embarcadero is popular.
“I just don’t feel like this is the right place for it. People in this area pay top dollar,” said San Francisco resident Natalie Morgan.
“I have news for you fellas. They’re on the street. We need to help them,” counters another resident of the city, Jan Pinkham.
On a parking lot in the shadow of the Bay Bridge, the city wants to build a temporary 200-bed homeless shelter and people have not been shy about sharing their opinions and money for and against the idea.
In fact, it’s the subject of dueling GoFundMe campaigns, with opponents raising just shy of $75,000 and supporters chipping in more than $105,000 in response.
“They have a right to be in the city,” Morgan said. “I just think a better place would be off the Embarcadero. I mean it’s perfect, prime real estate … why would you put a homeless shelter on the Embarcadero?”
Opponents say they’re concerned about the size and scale of the shelter and they feel the process has been rushed in order to steamroll the opposition. Supporters say the speed with which the plan has taken shape matches the urgent need for more housing.
“It is the right spot,” said Pinkham. “If you walk up and down this area, you’ll always see a lot of people — homeless people. They need to have a place to go where they can be safe at night. It breaks my heart when it’s cold and rainy.”
The final vote on the proposal is scheduled for April 23. There has been some discussion of pushing that date back in order to give the city more time to see if they can get more neighbors on board with the idea. Opponents say any money they raise will be used to mount a legal challenge to the shelter. Supporters say they’re donating the money to the Coalition on Homelessness.