A proposed homeless shelter space focused on LGBTs cleared a hurdle Thursday (August 15) as the seven-member San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved needed permits for the site.
Advocates and elected officials have been pushing for the 24-bed space, to be located at 1050 South Van Ness Avenue, since a March 2010 Board of Supervisors hearing in which several LGBTs told of harassment they’d experienced at the city’s shelters.
Dolores Street Community Service will operate the space.
In July, Dolores Street Executive Director Wendy Phillips said, “Providing everything goes well with the permits,” construction could start in September or October. The goal is to open the space by January.
“I’m very excited,” said out gay District 9 Supervisor David Campos in a call after Thursday’s hearing. Campos, who represents the Mission district where the space is located, has been a key backer of the project.
“I’m very hopeful,” he said. “Our objective right now is to open this as quickly as we can.”
However, added Campos, “This is not a panacea. It’s not an answer to the entire problem, but it’s a step in the right direction. My hope is that we can have more spaces like this one throughout the shelter system and we also create a more welcoming environment in all the other shelters.”
Wendy Phillips, executive director of Dolores Street Community Services, said she was thrilled with the approval.
“We are thrilled, not only with the planning commission’s
approval, but with the outpouring of community support for this project. We
received over a dozen support letters from allied organizations, and many
community members came out to the hearing today to speak to the tremendous need
for this shelter,” Phillips said. “The commissioners even remarked about how moved they were by
the testimony, and were surprised to hear that an adult LGBT shelter didn’t
already exist. So we are very proud to be able to provide this resource to the
community and are anxious to get started on the construction.”
Phillips added, “As far as next steps, we will plan a meeting with our project team in the next
week or so, to create a construction timeline and get going to get the upgrades
done so we can get the shelter open as soon as possible.”