A long-waited safe space for those in need, or an unwelcome site for residents? Controversy is at a high regarding the Bayview Vehicle Triage Center, a temporary site created as a safe space for people who are currently residing in their vehicles. The Center also connects inhabitants with services like health care and housing and employment assistance.
The Center is located at the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area’s boat launch parking lot. It currently has 53 spots, but is planned to contain 135 parking spaces. The site will have security and staff onsite to help Center residents.
This is a joint, two-year project between San Francisco city, California State Parks department, and the Bayview District community. It is an ambitious attempt to tackle the city’s growing vehicular homelessness problem. According to the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, over 677 individuals resided in their vehicles without a residence to call their own.
The Center is being funded by November 2018’s Proposition C, a gross tax receipts initiative to fund homelessness services.
In a statement, Mayor London Breed said, “We must take advantage of every opportunity we get, and all do our part to ensure that our unhoused residents have a safe place to sleep and regular access to stabilizing services.” “As we continue to move forward with our Homelessness Recovery Plan, we must find solutions for people living in their RVs or their cars and provide them with a path out of homelessness,” stated Breed.
However, not all are excited about the site opening. Bayview residents have raised concerns and opposition regarding the site, stating concerns about safety. The Candlestick Height Community Alliance filed a lawsuit against the city on November 29, 2021 seeking to end the program.
Residents who currently live in their vehicles expressed hesitation about the site because of its limited electricity hookups and ban against propane tanks and electricity generators. Without proper electricity or an alternative energy source, residents would have no way to cook, clean, or otherwise utilize appliances necessary to their daily lives.
Still, supporters of the Center are hopeful the positives will outweigh the potential obstacles. The site will operate for a minimum of two years, according to the current lease it has with California State Parks.