A nonprofit that provides counseling for sex offenders has withdrawn its plans to relocate to a Duboce Triangle building following an outcry from residents in the area, but says it still needs to find a new site in San Francisco.
Sharper Future, which currently operates at 1540 Market St., was planning to move into 100 Church St. at the corner of Church Street and Duboce Avenue, a site that previously housed a charity thrift store.
However residents turned out in force at a neighborhood meeting on Monday to voice their objections to the plan.
Members of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association raised concerns that the facility would be within 250 feet of two childcare facilities, in violation of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation policies.
In addition, the group alleged that the program had been dishonest about both the hours that it would keep and the potential risk from sex offenders that it would treat at the site.
In response to the outcry, Sharper Future on Wednesday issued a statement saying that it had halted its efforts to move into 100 Church Street:
“After Monday evening’s meeting, it is clear that our presence would be divisive for everyone concerned. … Out of respect for the community and the very critical work that we do, we’ve elected to seek an alternative location.”
Marc Haber, a member of the neighborhood group, called the decision the “right result for the neighborhood.” Haber said residents might have objected to the facility in any case, but that the lack of outreach before the move and the lack of “candor” had heightened those concerns:
“If there’s a problem down the road you have to wonder, are they going to deal with us openly?”
While neighbors have been accused of NIMBYism, Haber said the Duboce Triangle neighborhood, with its nearby parks and childcare facilities, was a particularly bad fit. He said the agency should consider a location in an area that is not historically residential.
Sharper Future officials have said they need to relocate within San Francisco because their current building is scheduled for demolition, and their contract with the state requires them to be accessible to clients in The City.