What a year! Never imaginable (still unbelievable) … yet we’ve done more than survive. We’ve responded to this pandemic in positive and healthy ways. We reached out to our neighbors in new ways…helping with errands, Zoom meetings, growing block safety groups, and even with the “Flatten the Curve” chalk drawing on the Liberty Street stairs. We continue to honor the DH Special Use District in the planning code (and helped obtain more protections against unnecessary demolitions.) We hosted our first-ever Zoom community gathering and online board election. We’ve experimented, we’ve been creative, we’ve shown up, and we’ve demonstrated resilience — along with compassion and care for our neighbors and community. The Stairs stewards are still cleaning and cultivating the plantings on many of the Dolores Heights stairways. The block safety groups alert neighbors to safety issues. Planning & Land Use educates neighbors, reviews proposed projects, and speaks out on land policy issues that affect our neighborhood.
With all that’s occurred these past 12 months, being thankful for family, friends, and community takes on a deeper significance. The board of DHIC thanks you. To support our work, please join or renew your membership in DHIC. We look forward to bringing neighbors together in 2021 – of course, in compliance with current/future health orders. Questions or suggestions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supervisor Mandelman is introducing two proposed housing ordinances. Although the two ordinances share some of the same DNA, they are separate and distinct in their intent, content and timelines. Neither bill directly changes the Dolores Heights Special Use District (SUD). Both bills would lead to process and zoning changes in the neighborhood. DHIC has not yet taken a position on either bill.
1. Monster Home” Ordinance: This ordinance has already been introduced at the Board of Supervisors and will be heard at the Planning Commission in April. The ordinance is, in part, a response to the onslaught of very large home developments in Dolores Heights.
The purpose of the ordinance is to make it more difficult to build a very large single family home, unless the project provides additional, and more equitably sized, units. The ordinance would require Conditional Use approval for a new home larger than 2,500 square feet, or any construction that expands an existing home by more than 50%, or beyond 2,500 square feet in size, unless the project increases the number of units on the lot.
2. Supervisor Mandelman is also drafting an additional ordinance that would allow for up to four units on corner lots, and on lots within a half-mile of a major rail station (i.e. Muni Metro underground or BART stations – stations with a turnstile). Per the chart below, some Dolores Heights properties are in a half-mile of the Castro Muni-Metro stop and will be covered by this upzoning.
The DHIC Green Garden Group hopes to be able to resume their monthly work bees on Saturday mornings as soon as City Health Orders permit. Fingers crossed for April! Keep your eye here on the DHIC Website and our Facebook page.
Our neighbors live with the effects of street homelessness. Street sleeping is not safe, not healthy, and not compassionate. A Place for All proposes a policy that the City provide shelter to all who will accept it. It also requires a City implementation plan to replace street sleeping with safe and healthy off-street interim shelter.
Sanctioned safe sleeping sites benefit both our unhoused and housed residents. They keep our unhoused residents safe from violence, crime, and the coronavirus. They also bring welcome relief to the City’s housed residents. Unsanctioned encampments in neighborhoods have produced blocked sidewalks, litter, open drug use, and crime. A January 2020 poll found that 71% of San Francisco voters identified homelessness and street conditions as the City’s top issue.
While the solution for homelessness is housing, the waiting line cannot be on our streets. SIP hotel occupants have priority for housing, and those on our streets slide further into chronic homelessness with over a majority suffering from behavioral health/substance abuse.
Safe sleeping sites operating for nearly one year are a proven model that now host approximately 300 people. Guests have safety, stability, and support services – a key first step on their path out of homelessness. The sites can be cost-effective when they shelter 100 guests as the legislation proposes.
A Place for All will have a public hearing in April. More details to follow. Email email@example.com with questions, ideas, or help.
A Place for All: shelter for all who want to get off the streets
WHAT IT DOES:
Enacts a SF policy to provide shelter for unhoused seeking a safe place to sleep
Mandates a detailed plan: potential locations, estimated individual places needed, phased timeline, and estimated costs
Provides that the plan be reviewed in public hearings and approved by the Supervisors — before implementation
WHAT IT DOES NOT DO:
Allocate any budget funds: the legislation contains no funding. Funding requires a separate vote by the Board of Supervisor after they review the proposed plan and cost estimates
Increase the 2020-2022 budget: to fund this program, Supervisors must vote to reallocate existing budget dollars. They cannot increase the existing City budget
Not build to shelter the total street population: the plan has a phased timeline to create only enough placements for those who accept off-street shelter
Starting February 1st, the Street Crisis Response Team will be on the streets of northern District 8! The SCRT, which is comprised of a behavioral health clinician, a community paramedic, and a peer behavioral health specialist, will respond to 911 calls for people experiencing behavioral health crisis on the streets of Upper Market and the Castro (as well as the Mission.)
San Francisco has long lacked an effective emergency response to people suffering from addiction and severe mental illness on our streets. The creation of the SCRT was a top recommendation of the 2019 Methamphetamine Task Force co-chaired by Supervisor Mandelman. He also worked with Mayor Breed and Supervisors Ronen and Haney to secure full funding for this new program in the 2020-21 Budget.
Now when residents, visitors, and businesses in Upper Market and the Castro see a mentally disturbed adult in crisis and call 911, the 911 Call Center can dispatch the SCRT to respond. This diverts calls from police in situations that don’t involve violent behavior. Initially the Castro/Mission team will work Monday to Friday 8am-4pm, and will soon expand to 9am-9pm 7 days a week. As new teams are formed and deployed the goal is 24×7 coverage.
Castro Merchants are again sponsoring the popular Shared Space program during the weekends. (They closed during the Dec – Jan Stay at Home order.) Come out and enjoy the vehicle-free on-street strolling and shopping. Here’s the details:
18th Street – Castro
18th Street from Hartford Street to Castro Street; 18th Street from Castro Street to Collingwood Street
Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day
Active: Sunday, October 11, 2020, through Sunday, June 27, 2021
Here are the most commonly used ways to prevent garage/home break-ins.
Keep entry lights on at night. Lighted doorways deter break-ins especially if video cameras are visible.
Keep one or more interior lights on at night.
Install motion flood lights at entryways. Can scare off would-be burglar.
Install metal gates at street entryways, especially the front door. Front doors are particularly vulnerable to forced entry as are alleyway doors. An alternative is special smash-proof door glass. See below Safety Glass.
Put video cams at entryways and garage doors. Consider at least a video component as part of a front door bell system: Ring Nest Outdoor, Ubiquity, and Network Video by Dahlua Technologies are a few that some neighbors are using.
Eliminate garage door remotes. If you leave a remote in a car hide it (under the seat for example) or take it with you. This is especially important if you have car registration or other info with your home address in the car.
Protect your garage door with reinforced or break-proof panels and a dead bolt device for overnight or when away for extended period. Automatic Garage Doors (and other vendors) have smash proof garage doors. Dead bolts for garage doors are either manual or electrical with a remote. The manual deadbolts are useful for when you are away for extended periods; the more expensive electrical/remotes allow for daily use. Another approach is to remove the emergency pull cord that releases the garage door track which allows criminals to raise the door.
Install a hooded mail slot and/or break-proof protective glass for your front door panels. Burglars can reach in via the mail slot and unlock the deadbolt with extension devices. They also knock out glass panels. (A Yelp search can help you find vendors to install these.)
Install a burglar alarm which alerts a private security company who will immediately come to the address or call 911. Commonly used companies include ADT, Bay Alarm, Warman and SimpliFi.
D8 residents are seeing and hearing about more crime in our district–from car or garage break-ins, vandalism and store robberies, home burglaries, to muggings on the street. On Friday, January 22, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman hosted a Zoom with Chief Bill Scott to discuss crime in D8 on a Zoom meeting (starting at the 20 minute mark.)
D8 residents are concerned about public safety: what do the data say? How do we acknowledge, address, and bring down crime? The Chief confirmed that burglaries are up significantly in San Francisco. In part, he and his leadership believe the increase in home burglaries is correlated with the decreased car break-ins resulting from the drop in tourism. Early release of offenders to reduce COVID risk in jails is another factor.
The Chief outlined action that SFPD action is taking: investigating serial burglars, working with the DA to prosecute those arrested, using more plainclothes details, more visible car patrols. He also recommended that residents maintain their external video cameras. Video and other physical evidence is critical to obtaining convictions. To prevent crime, do not leave valuables in your car, lock doors & windows, consider security system (For more details – see list of recommended actions here.)
DHIC recommends taking steps to protect you, your family, and your property from home burglaries and other crimes. And join a block safety group to get to know your neighbors and to share regular updates via email. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your street name and block # (or your address.) We’ll connect you with the block safety alias for your street.