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San Francisco residents raise $80,000 to stop homeless shelter in wealthy area

Some San Francisco residents are turning to crowdfunding to raise money to fight a proposed homeless shelter in their wealthy neighborhood. As of Monday morning, the effort had raised over $80,000 of its $100,000 goal. 

Calling itself "Safe Embarcadero for All," the organizer is appealing to residents of South Beach, Rincon Hill, Bayside Village, East Cut and Mission Bay, saying the money will be directed to a legal fund to pay for efforts to fight the homeless shelter. San Francisco Mayor London Breed has sponsored legislation to fast-track the building of the Navigation Center, which would house 200 homeless people a stone's throw from Google's San Francisco offices and Gap's headquarters.

At the same time, a rival crowdfunding effort is raising money to support the homeless shelter and had received more than $144,000 of its $175,000 goal as of Monday morning. Its organizers said their funds would be used to fight the residents who are trying to block the shelter's construction. 

Among the big names donating large sums -- $10,000 each -- to the crowdfunding campaign in support of the shelter are Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson and GoFundMe itself, according to the Guardian.

The rival crowdfunding efforts highlight the tensions impacting San Francisco and nearby Silicon Valley, which have seen a huge influx in wealth thanks to the growth of tech companies such as Google and Uber. The surge in personal incomes has pushed up housing prices, forcing some residents out of their homes and creating a homeless crisis. 

How Silicon Valley's housing boom is creating a homeless crisis 03:51

By one measure, there are about 7,500 homeless people in the city, with about 4,400 "unsheltered," or who sleep without a roof over their heads. A U.N. report issued last fall called the conditions suffered by homeless people in San Francisco and neighboring Oakland "cruel and inhuman" and cited it as a human rights violation. 

Earlier this month, residents of the wealthy neighborhoods near the site of the proposed homeless shelter turned out to protest the effort, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Some said they were sympathetic but worried about placing the shelter in an area frequented by tourists, as well as potential issues with crime and sanitation. 

The Navigation Center could draw "all the things normally associated with homelessness: criminal activity, drug usage and environmental pollution, both the visual kind and the physical kind," one resident said at the meeting, according to the report.

The median price for a condos in Mission Bay and South Beach, two neighborhoods near the proposed shelter, is more than $1.2 million, according to Paragon Market Reports.

Correction: The story was updated to reflect that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson and GoFundMe donated to the campaign in support of the homeless shelter, not against it. 

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