Professor: Governments, Residents Must Address Racist Attacks Against Asians

Nearly 2,500 cases of verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans were reported between March 19 and July 22 to a tracking project called Stop AAPI Hate, referring to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Dr. Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, has called on local, state and federal governments to reject racist rhetoric and commit to anti-racist messaging.

S.F. to Stop Leasing New Shelter-in-Place Hotel Rooms

UPDATE: Adds city response and coronavirus data in second, third and fifth paragraphs, details on supportive housing funding in last paragraph. 

San Francisco will stop acquiring shelter-in-place hotel rooms for the city’s vulnerable residents and essential workers, the Emergency Operations Center confirmed in a statement late Wednesday. The city will continue to use the approximately 2,600 rooms under contract and plans to phase out the program by June 2021, the department said. City departments determined that more hotel rooms were unnecessary after studying the “rate of infection and demands on our hospital system,” the emergency department said. On April 8, officials said the city planned to acquire 7,000 hotel rooms to house essential workers and homeless residents who needed a safe place to self-isolate or quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic. 

San Francisco hospitals were at 25% of their capacity April 8. By July 21, they were more than twice as full.

“Quarantine Diary” depicts Yesica Prado’s personal experience living in an RV in Berkeley. As a CatchLight Local Fellow at the San Francisco Public Press, Prado spent the past year examining the culture of vehicle living in San Francisco and Berkeley. Her reporting and photojournalism are featured in “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis,” which she produced for the San Francisco Public Press in collaboration with the Bay Area visual storytelling nonprofit CatchLight through its CatchLight Local Initiative.

‘Quarantine Diary’ Captures Experience of Living in an RV

Photojournalist Yesica Prado spent the past year examining the culture of vehicle living in San Francisco and Berkeley. Her reporting and photojournalism are featured in “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis.” Prado created “Quarantine Diary” to show her personal experience living in an RV in Berkeley.

Health Right

COVID-19 Opens New Frontiers in Addiction Medicine

When Mayor London Breed announced a strict shelter-in-place order on March 16 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, health facilities scrambled to identify ways to safely see patients. For addiction medicine doctors, this presented a particularly difficult challenge: Patients engaged in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction must be seen frequently, often every few days. Regular doctor visits are not just helpful for people’s recovery but until that point had been required by the federal government for the dispensing of certain opioid addiction medications. As doctors across San Francisco switched to telehealth visits — talking to patients over the phone or through video chat — an unexpected shift took place. Missed appointments, a norm before the shelter in place, became rare.

A Cancer Information Service staffer receives an inquiry from a customer on the telephone. Bill Branson / National Cancer Institute

Contact Tracers Prioritize Timely, Culturally Competent Calls as Coronavirus Surges

San Francisco has set a goal of communicating with 90% of the people here who test positive for the novel coronavirus and also reaching 90% of their close contacts. But in part due to a delayed trove of test data, the city has reached just 73% of the people for whom it received positive test results over the previous two weeks and 84% of those peoples’ close contacts. In contact tracing, health workers identify and reach out to people who have an infectious disease, then try to determine with whom they have been in close contact and to whom they may have transmitted the disease. Then they try to reach those potentially exposed people. When case investigators and contact tracers talk with someone who has tested positive or potentially been exposed, they ask questions, but they also make testing and resource referrals, and give directions on how to try to stop the disease from spreading further.

City Clears Homeless Residents From Notorious Tenderloin Alley

The sun pried through the morning fog and splashed across Leif Skorochod’s unshaven face as he sifted hurriedly through the pile of bike parts in his tent, picking out the rejects and tossing them into the back of a public works truck.  

Like most of the homeless residents on Willow Street Tuesday morning, Skorochod was headed for either a city-sanctioned tent camp or the barracks-style homeless shelter at Moscone Convention Center after city workers arrived early that morning and gave them a choice: Accept shelter or leave.  

Homeless Outreach Team members discussed placement options with tent residents while Public Works crews tossed items into truck beds. At least two residents received hotel rooms because they have underlying health conditions. The rest of those the Public Press spoke to were either headed to Moscone or a sanctioned camp site. 

Skorochod was nervous about being exposed to coronavirus or other illnesses at Moscone, he said, and would likely opt to stay outdoors at a sanctioned camp instead. 

City workers continue to place residents at the Moscone shelter despite concern from advocates for the homeless who fear that inconsistent testing and a lack of social distancing enforcement at large shelters could lead to another COVID-19 outbreak. In April, the Multi-Service Center South homeless shelter experienced one of the largest shelter outbreaks in the country when more than 100 shelters residents and staff tested positive for coronavirus.  

“I’m kind of disappointed because we were hoping to go into hotels,” Skorochod said, adding that he had heard from two friends who live at the camp on Fulton Street that conditions were better at the sanctioned camp than at Moscone. 

“I would rather have my own room, but they said they ran out,” said Rebeccah Franklin, who had been living on Willow Street a couple of days before city workers rousted her.

Shireen McSpadden

New Coronavirus Infections Fall Slightly, Food Assistance Extended

San Francisco’s COVID-19 infection rate is leveling off, but  Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said the growth rate is still much higher than he would like to see. “We are finding about 90 new cases of COVID-19 every day. That number has started to drop a bit from its high point two weeks ago, but it is still very concerning. Anything above 50 cases a day continues to put us in the red zone on high alert. And we have been there for about the last six weeks.”

The Great Plates meal delivery program for seniors sheltering in place has been extended through Sept.

Bay Area Housing Group Addresses Community Uncertainty, Finance Questions in Pandemic

When the fallout of the pandemic started to hit Richmond, the affordable housing organization Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services jumped into action, setting up a rapid response fund for families and making its money management and housing education courses virtual. Nikki Beasley, the organization’s executive director, spoke with “Civic” about inequities in housing and wealth in the Bay Area, how to think about financial and housing stability in a time of uncertainty and how crucial homeownership can be to that stability across generations.