SAN FRANCISCO (BCN/CBS SF) -- San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an emergency ordinance calling for the city to increase the amount of hotel rooms for homeless people as the COVID-19 pandemic endures, as Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement for the hotels has already been assured.
The ordinance calls on the city to increase the amount of hotel rooms being provided to people experiencing homelessness through the city's Shelter-In-Place, or SIP, hotel program from 1,800 to 2,200.
SIP hotel program recipients include families, transitional aged youth and single adults, many of whom are considered high risk because of their age or pre-existing health conditions.
The ordinance is sponsored by supervisors Melgar, Haney, Ronen, Preston, Mar, Walton and Safai. The ordinance was created in light of last month's announcement by President Joe Biden that FEMA will reimburse counties for 100 percent of eligible hotels retroactive to January 2020.
In November, the city announced it would move to end the SIP hotel program in phases and place residents in permanent stable housing, citing uncertainty around whether FEMA would cover the program's $178 million annual cost.
"This legislation allows us to leverage new federal dollars and shelter thousands of people at little to no cost to the city. There is still immense need on our streets for people to come inside. These additional hotel rooms will save money and save lives," Haney said.
"Since the start of this pandemic, we successfully got hundreds of people off the street and into hotel rooms to safely shelter in place. This has saved countless lives. With the federal government reimbursing the city 100% of the costs, there is no excuse for us to leave our most vulnerable outdoors. We can and must do the right thing and house as many people as possible during this pandemic," Ronen said.
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