Acrimony about the San Francisco homelessness crisis is festering again after video surfaced on YouTube of a tent pitched on an apartment building’s roof.
SAN FRANCISCO — With the closure of the APEC conference, San Franciscans can get back to business as usual but residents of one neighborhood hope that the disruptions to everyday life will have a lasting impact.
To many, the Tenderloin District is a symbol of San Francisco at its most hopeless. Yet, for one week, the city proved that is doesn’t have to be that way. With the world watching, 300 shelter beds were suddenly opened and the streets became clean again.
“We saw cleanliness and we saw safety improve,” said Bryan Young, interim CEO of St. Anthony’s Foundation. “It’s a small example of what could be done if effort and resources are dedicated to the Tenderloin and it’s worth it.”
St. Anthony’s Foundation has turned one block of Golden Gate Avenue into an oasis of peace in an area known for chaos. It will host its second-annual “Giving Thanks on Golden Gate” block party on Tuesday. That will be followed on Thursday by its traditional Thanksgiving meal for the neighborhood residents. But, every day, its food program and community outreach serves the needs of Tenderloin residents.
On Saturday, in preparation for the block party, volunteers were gathering cold weather supplies: socks, scarves, hygiene kits and blankets being knotted together by 10-year-old Izzy Brunsell to form a barrier against the cold embrace of the streets.
“It’s fun because you’re doing it for other people that need the help, you know?” Izzy said.
Her mother, Sheila, agreed.
“You have to make it a point to expose yourself to those needs,” she said. “So you don’t forget that people are in need wherever you are — surrounding you.”
Beyond the warm, fuzzy feeling of the holidays, the question remains: What is to become of the Tenderloin?
With APEC ended, will the city allow the area to revert to being a haven for homelessness and drug addiction?
“The thing is, now that it’s over, are they going to move back in? That’s what I’m waiting to see now,” said Tenderloin resident Jonathan Dyer. “I’m pretty sure they’re going to start taking over the doorways once again.”
Dyer makes his living playing saxaphone on Market Street and he said the Tenderloin’s transformation over the past week was unmistakable.
“Before the conference it was really, really crowded and now it’s really, really clean,” he said.
Does he think the city can or will keep it that way?
“It can. It can and, I think, they’ve got plenty of money for it,” he said.
A few blocks from where world leaders were discussing global pathways to prosperity, people were struggling just to survive on the streets. It may be a bitter irony but, back at St. Anthony’s, Tiana Teunissen focused on tying her blanket — one small effort to keep her hopes alive.
“Yeah, it’s like, ‘What can I do? The city’s just gone to crap’ — but that’s not the case at all! I think there’s a lot that we can do to prevent it from getting worse and, hopefully, make it better,” Teunissen said. She rejected the whole notion of a “doom loop.”
“No, never! It’s mindset!” she said.
In the Tenderloin, it is a mindset — for both the residents and the city itself. Not much is invested so not much is expected and vice versa.
But for one week, everyone saw what was possible.
Eight families move in to new San Francisco homes built by Habitat for Humanity
SAN FRANCISCO — On Saturday morning, a group of San Franciscans were given the ceremonial keys to new homes that they will actually own, all thanks to an organization that’s been building affordable housing for decades — Habitat for Humanity.
The newest homes on Amber Street in the Diamond Heights district come with all the modern features and one that feels like something from the distant past in this astronomically expensive corner of the world: ownership.
“I’m so proud — so proud — to be here today to celebrate our eight newest Habitat families,” Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater SF told a crowd assembled in one of the garages of the new complex.
One by one, the families were officially welcomed to their new homes. Half of them came from a city list of families displaced from their homes in the 1960s and 1970s.
“They moved out of their places, where they had to move out of the Bayview and the Western Addition during redevelopment,” Sedonaen explained. “These folks represent to their families the journey to the dream and the dream is here. They are living it!”
For most, like Kristen McLeod, the idea of owning a home in the city was more like a pipe dream but Habitat makes it possible by leveraging the volunteer work of prospective homeowners.
“I was here quite a bit doing all sort of things, as well as my family and friends that would volunteer for me, as well. So, it was a community effort,” McLeod said.
She put in the requisite 500 hours of work, including painting all the bathrooms in the complex.
“So, it’s like we went from one bathroom to another in this unit and then we went downstairs and we did the same thing,” she said, proudly. “Everything works! It’s almost like a miracle, right? It starts with one thing that you help with and then, you know, look at this! The rooms are just gorgeous!”
Downstairs, the Pittman family was getting a look at their new home, including 5-year-old Shaun who pointed out the best part of having his own room.
“If I don’t want no one inside, I could just close the door and lock it!” he said.
Habitat had to unlock a few doors at City Hall as well. Eric Shaw, the director of the mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, said the city’s rules didn’t account for a construction project using volunteer labor.
“Sometimes we have to adapt how the city works to what the need is at the time,” he said. “And I think the power of Habitat for Humanity and its residents was that they had a different need than how we had done things before and we were able to adjust to that.”
After completing the 500 volunteer hours, Habitat for Humanity homeowners get a zero-percent interest mortgage with payments capped at 30 percent of their income. Habitat CEO Sedonaen said the public should demand that more resources go into projects which give residents a realistic opportunity to own the places they live.
“Then, I think, the elected officials need to stop arguing with each other and get solutions that get things done and make it happen,” she said. “And I think … it is hard. What we do is very hard but it’s not impossible.”
It’s a lesson for dealing with a housing crisis and giving people a chance to own the American Dream, rather than just renting it.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers: How to watch, schedule, live stream info, start time, TV channel
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Current Records: San Francisco 8-3, Philadelphia 10-1
How To Watch
- When: Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 4:25 p.m. ET
- Where: Lincoln Financial Field — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- TV: FOX
- Follow: CBS Sports App
- Fubo (Try for free) Fubo’s holiday offer just kicked off – For a limited time, new subscribers can save $40 on Fubo’s Pro, Elite, and Premier plans ($20 off the first and second months)
What to Know
The Eagles will be in front of their home fans on Sunday, but a look at the spread shows they might need that home-field advantage. They will take on the San Francisco 49ers at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday. Each of these teams will be fighting to keep a win streak alive as the Eagles comes in on five and the 49ers on three.
Even though Buffalo scored an imposing 34 points on Sunday, Philadelphia still came out on top. The Eagles skirted past the Bills 37-34. Having forecasted a close win for Philadelphia, the oddsmakers were right on the money.
The match pitted two of the league’s most dominant signal callers against one another in Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen. Hurts had a great game and threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Allen was balling out in the loss, rushing for 81 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries, while also throwing for 339 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles were down by three with only five minutes and 52 seconds left when they drove 75 yards for the winning score. Hurts punched in the touchdown from 12 yards out.
Meanwhile, San Francisco has more to be thankful for after their contest against Seattle on Thursday. The 49ers strolled past the Seahawks with points to spare, taking the game 31-13.
Christian McCaffrey continued his habit of posting crazy stat lines, rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Deebo Samuel was another key contributor, gaining 94 total yards and a touchdown.
The team’s defense also helped out by holding the Seahawks to a paltry 220 yards. A big part of that defensive dominance came down to the 49ers’ ability to keep the quarterback under pressure: the team laid the passer out six times before it was all said and done. The Seahawks’ QB won’t forget Nick Bosa anytime soon given Bosa sacked him twice.
Philadelphia’s victory was their fifth straight at home, which pushed their record up to 10-1. Those good results were due in large part to their offensive dominance across that stretch, as they averaged 32.8 points per game. As for San Francisco, their win bumped their record up to 8-3.
Keep an eye on the end zone in Sunday’s game as the Eagles and the 49ers haven’t had much trouble getting there this season. The Eagles command a daunting offense this season, having averaged 3.3 touchdowns per game (they’re ranked fifth in touchdowns overall). However, it’s not like the 49ers (currently ranked third in touchdowns) struggle in that department as they’ve been even better at 3.4 per game. With these two high-octane teams facing off on Sunday, fans should be in for an exciting offensive matchup. Come back here after the game to find expert analysis of the match and other NFL content.
San Francisco is a slight 2.5-point favorite against Philadelphia, according to the latest NFL odds.
The over/under is set at 46.5 points.
See NFL picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.
Philadelphia has won 3 out of their last 4 games against San Francisco.
- Jan 29, 2023 – Philadelphia 31 vs. San Francisco 7
- Sep 19, 2021 – San Francisco 17 vs. Philadelphia 11
- Oct 04, 2020 – Philadelphia 25 vs. San Francisco 20
- Oct 29, 2017 – Philadelphia 33 vs. San Francisco 10
Are Homeless People Living on San Francisco Rooftops?
The building at 624 Ellis St. is in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, which is known as the epicenter of the city’s drug and homelessness crises.
While the video drew attention and elicited a string of comments online, including on X, the building’s residents were mostly unsurprised that someone could be living on their roof.
Unhoused people frequently seek places where they will not have to worry about being awakened, forcibly removed or assaulted, according to Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness.
Others in San Francisco have also reported seeing people living on rooftops, and people doing so is common in other cities around the world, such as Cairo and Hong Kong.
READ MORE: San Francisco Homelessness: City Helped Residents Install Planters
A man who has lived at 624 Ellis St. for a year said he was not shocked someone might be sleeping on the roof of his building. He said he has occasionally seen people sleeping in the stairwell leading to the area where the garbage is stored.
“It’s not too surprising,” said the man, who declined to give his full name because he feared the building’s management could take issue with him speaking with the press. “There’s a door, you can get to the roof and it’s open.”
“They get in from where the garbage is,” he said, adding that management has tried to address the issue and that he has seen fewer people sleeping in the building in the last month. “It’s gotten better,” he said.
When The Standard contacted the building’s management company, Gaetani Real Estate, the building’s manager, Noel Radcliffe, said he was unaware of the tent on the roof and planned to address the issue.
The Standard visited the building Friday and accessed the roof with relative ease through an unlocked door. There was no tent present on Friday, but there was a blanket and a sleeping bag, which looked to be the same as the one seen in the drone video.
Another resident, who said his name was Alex Alexander, has lived in the building for about 15 months and was more worried than angry about someone living on the roof of the four-story building. “I’m just concerned for his well-being,” the tenant said. “He might trip and hurt himself.”
A woman died in October when she fell from an apartment rooftop during a Blue Angels viewing party.
The building has apparently had issues with nonresidents entering without permission. A note on a third-floor resident’s door warned tenants not to prop doors open.
Radcliffe and Gaetani Real Estate principals Marcus and Paul Gaetani did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
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