SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – In about six months, San Francisco is going to transform into the center of the football universe for Super Bowl 50. With part of Market Street being converted to Super Bowl City, the mayor said the homeless in the area must clear out.
"They are going to have to leave," Lee said, summing up his plan for how to handle the homeless when Super Bowl festivities come to town.
"We'll give you an alternative. We are always going to be supportive. But you are going to have to leave the streets," Lee told KPIX 5.
The alternative will be more homeless programs and some 500 new apartments that Lee hopes to have built by the time of the big party.
"Some of them are mentally ill. Some of them have severe drug addiction and yeah, they get cleaned up 24 hours and they are back on the environment that caused this in the first place," the mayor said.
San Francisco, however, has been very tolerant with the homeless. As Mayor Lee knows, any move to target them has traditionally met with vocal opposition, and this is an election year.
"I have to have an alternative; otherwise we are just moving them from one area to another," he said.
The Super Bowl host committee said the plan is to have so much going on around here that there won't be room for the homeless.
"All around here we are going to have entertainment, family-friendly activities that will keep it vibrant and crowded," said Nate Ballard of the host committee. "We're going to have 24-7 security."
The mayor's comments come as complaints continue to grow about city streets being turned in one big toilet, especially complaints from tourists.
"It's getting worse," said Kevin Carroll of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. "There are just more things happening."
"They can't be on the streets," the mayor said. "Not just because it is illegal, but because it is dangerous for them."
Lee also said several city departments, including police, public works, the health department and social services will also be engaged in this process.
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