Wealthy residents raise $60,000 to stop homeless shelter being built in San Francisco. Campaign ‘incredibly frustrating and disappointing’, says mayor of city gripped by housing crisis
Residents of an affluent San Francisco area have launched a crowdfunding appeal in a bid to block a homeless shelter being built in their area.
Donors have raised more than $60,000 (£46,000) to fund a legal battle over plans for the 200-bed centre in a city gripped by a housing crisis.
Their efforts have prompted an angry response from San Francisco’s mayor, who called the campaign “incredibly frustrating and disappointing.”
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The residents launched an appeal on crowdfunding website GoFundMe – more typically used to raise money for charity or disaster relief – last week.
The page says the funds will be used for “for legal and related costs” to oppose mayor London Breed’s proposals for a homeless shelter in a vacant plot of land in Embarcadero, the city’s eastern waterfront.
The coalition of residents from surrounding neighbourhoods claims the plans would make the area less safe.
They have set a crowdfunding target of $100,000 (£76,000) and have received more than 135 donations, including from hedge fund managers, company executives and academics.
More than 7,000 in the San Francisco Bay area are homeless, according to recent estimates.
The average house in South Beach, the area where the shelter is proposed to be built, costs $1.2m.
“People want us to address the challenges on our streets and help our unsheltered residents into housing, and I am committed to doing the hard work to make that happen,” Ms Breed said.
“But it’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing that as soon as we put forward a solution to build a new shelter, people begin to threaten legal action.
“I understand that people have questions about the site, and we are happy to demonstrate how these sites work and the positive impacts they have had in other neighbourhoods, but can’t afford unnecessary delays.”
A rival crowdfunding page was set up this week to counter efforts to block the shelter and raised more than $33,000 (£25,000) in a day.
“They’re [trying to stop] a shelter in the neighbourhood, and these are the same people who complain about homelessness all the time,” the page’s founder, William Fitzgerald, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I care about homeless people. I believe they deserve safe and humane shelter,” he wrote on his GoFundMe appeal, which is raising money for the Coalition Against Homelessness.
Photo: A homeless man is sleeps in San Francisco, where more than 7,000 people have nowhere to live. Source: AFP/Getty.