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Rec and Park to voluntarily provide location list for safe sleeping sites

San Francisco Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer said Monday that legislation requiring the Department of Recreation and Parks to compile a list of potential “safe sleeping sites” on its properties is no longer needed. The department has agreed to create the list voluntarily.

Fewer announced at the board’s Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting that the department will generate the list of potential sites by June 2 and the City’s Real Estate Division will also develop a list of potential sites outside Rec and Park jurisdiction.

The proposed legislation had asked the department to submit the report by May 18, but Fewer and Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg worked out an agreement.

Before tabling her bill, Fewer tried to clarify the intention of the legislation by saying:

“This legislation would not allow people to camp freely throughout our parks. It would also not mandate the use of any particular site. This legislation leaves the decision to the general manager of the recreation and parks department.”

Jesse Garnier/SFBay Tents and cardboard boxes are seen on the front steps of Everett Middle School in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

Fewer added:

“Its intent was to look at sites that would not interfere with the recreation needs of San Franciscans during shelter in place, which is why this legislation defers to the general manager as he knows his properties best.”

Criticism of the legislation had been rolling in, including from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, who penned a letter of concern on the possibility The City would compel Rec and Park to allow encampments inside Golden Gate Park, though that was never part of the proposal.

Feinstein said in her letter that The City has a number of options for temporary safe shelter locations.

She said:

“This could include tents on unused parking lots and closed schoolyards, as well as public facilities such as the Cow Palace and Port property. These locations are available, have utilities, and can be more easily restored to original uses than can Park lands.”

City officials last week opened its first sanctioned tent encampment near City Hall and plan to open another at Stanyan and Haight streets at the former location of a McDonald’s.

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