San Francisco mayor reverses on plan to build sober living facility in Chinatown

San Francisco mayor reverses on plan to build sober living facility in Chinatown
via Kron4, Mayor London Breed
Michelle De Pacina
February 21, 2024
San Francisco Mayor London Breed has decided to abandon a proposal for a sober living facility near the city’s Chinatown following strong opposition from locals and merchants. 
About the sober living facility: The facility was previously set to accommodate individuals battling addiction in a repurposed 150-unit at the historic Hotel North Beach on 935 Kearny St. in San Francisco. The idea was to provide housing and on-site services for homeless individuals recovering from addiction.
Sparking outrage: Although locals agree on the need to support those battling addiction, the proposal sparked outrage from Chinatown advocates and merchants as they were not consulted in the decision-making process. 
Critics, including community leaders and business owners, also opposed the facility’s location amid bars and businesses, including liquor stores, citing concerns about its impact on tourism and Chinatown’s nightlife atmosphere. 
Breed’s new commitment: Due to the strong opposition, Breed, who faces a challenging reelection, expressed her commitment to establish the sober housing program at an alternative location, emphasizing the need for community support. 
“For this critical new program to be successful, it’s important for it to have support from the surrounding community. It became clear from my conversations with many in the area that this support was not there,” she wrote in a statement.
Lesson learned: Edward Siu, the president of the Chinatown Merchants United Association of San Francisco, believes Breed has “learned her lesson” from the controversy.
“It’s like they listened now because I believe the Chinese community unified together had a voice,” Siu told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The mayor, good thing, listened, and made a good choice and changed it.”
Regret over cancellation: However, other leaders, such as Randy Shaw, the executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, expressed regret over the cancellation of the proposed sober living facility, which his organization was set to operate.
“There was a tremendous amount of misinformation and falsehoods spread in the community about the project,” Shaw said. “The community was saying it would be a homeless shelter or sober living means drug addicts when it’s the opposite. Chinatown has been very effective at stopping permanent supportive housing and there is no permanent supportive housing in Chinatown and North Beach.”
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