I hope this email finds you well during these uncertain times. I’d like to share an update regarding HVNA’s efforts to address the safety of our streets while also helping our homeless neighbors. I’d also like to clear up some confusion about those efforts.
Over the last several months, HVNA has worked closely with the offices of Supervisor Preston and the Mayor to address the state of our sidewalks and cherished open spaces, while also addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness in a humane and considerate way. We urged the city to make vacant hotel rooms available to help those most in need. And we demanded immediate action to alleviate the unsafe and unacceptable conditions that increase health risks to all of our neighbors, housed and unhoused.
As part of our work, earlier this month, HVNA circulated a petition emphasizing our support for removing the tents on and around Octavia Boulevard, and for opening hotel rooms and other safe sleeping sites to provide those individuals with shelter, meals, bathrooms, showers, supervision, security, health services, and health screening upon entry. A big thank you to all who supported HVNA’s petition. We received a great response with over 300 signatures. You can find HVNA’s petition here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/hayes-valley-safe-sleeping-sites-at-33-gough-street-perfoming-arts-garage-and-600-mcallister
We’re pleased to share that, as a result of those efforts, Supervisor Preston, Mayor Breed, and the responsible agencies have committed to clearing the Octavia encampment, and to offer all of the affected people a place to go along with appropriate services, in the very near future. We’ve been asked to not share any further details to avoid jeopardizing the effort, and we’re honoring that request. We are poised to act quickly if the authorities do not follow through on their promises.
We also need to address an area of confusion around HVNA’s petition. It appears that a few other petitions demanding removal of the tents were circulating shortly after ours was posted. Some community members were under the incorrect impression that those other petitions were being circulated on behalf of HVNA. Several neighbors have contacted HVNA with concerns about those petitions—for example, that one demanded removal of the tents without proposing any alternative housing or services for those individuals. We want to clarify that while HVNA obviously supports everyone’s right to petition and encourages robust civic engagement, those other petitions were not affiliated with HVNA.
HVNA and our Homelessness Committee remain committed to compassionate and thoughtful efforts to address the needs of our unhoused neighbors. We are all part of the same community. We are all neighbors and we are here to support each other.
I look forward to hopefully seeing everyone again some day soon. In the meantime, stay safe, take care, be well—and please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of our Board members with any questions or concerns.