While plans for a residential tower to rise up to 250 feet in height upon the City College of San Francisco site at 33 Gough Street were first drafted back in 2017, and further densified the following year, said plans were withdrawn from consideration prior to the project and required re-zoning being approved.

The two parking lots on either side of the existing CCSF building were Subsequently leased to the City of San Francisco for use as a Safe Sleeping Site/village. And permits to remove the existing 44 tents on the site and install 70 tiny “transitional” cabins, two new dining and communal areas, and a shower trailer, along with a couple of small offices for on-site supportive services and 24×7 staff, have been approved and the cabins, which are intended to provide private, safe and dignified spaces and resources for homeless individuals working to make a permanent exit from homelessness, could be installed and occupied by the end of this year.

Designed by Gensler Architects each tiny cabin will have a bed, a desk, a chair, a window, a door that locks, and heat, with 2” thick walls and 4” thick roofs for insulation and energy efficiency and durable steel frames so that the cabins can be relocated to another site once the pilot program, which is slated to run for around 18 months, ends.

And if deemed successful, the metrics for which haven’t been defined, the project team, which includes DignityMoves, Tipping Point Community, Urban Alchemy and HomeFirst Services, in conjunction with the City, hopes to replicate the approach in several other locations “across the city, state and country.”

53 thoughts on “Permit for 70 Tiny Cabins Has Been Approved”
    1. High-density towers full of tax-paying business-patronizing residents replaced by state-sanctioned favelas … only in San Francisco. “The City that Knows How [to ruin everything it touches]”

  1. This is San Francisco in a nutshell… we don’t want to build real housing, but we do want to turn our downtown into a favela.

    1. apologies to @sfsanity – I typed in my favela comment above before seeing this one 2 hours earlier. “Great minds…” and all that 🙂

    1. As if there isn’t drug use all over soma… plenty of people with white collar positions doing coke, ketamine, etc at Audio or while brunching at an upscale restaurant

      1. nice strawman. Those users aren’t leaving needles in the street (I see them / have to avoid them weekly, even in the Richmond, and pretty much daily downtown), overturning trash cans looking for aluminum cans for rebate drug money, peeing and vomiting and crapping on the sidewalk, etc.

  2. The irony of real estate industrial complex minions kvetching about housing people who can’t afford a roof in SF because the real estate industrial complex relentlessly gentrified SF into a high stakes real estate casino for foreign money launderers, app-based arbitragers and monopolists, and short-term rental sleazebaLLs.

    “Won’t someone do something about the homeless? At least, get them off my upscale Hub sidewalks!”
    “Ok, let’s try this concept. We can put them up here.”
    “No! Not there! That’s too close to me, and in any case, that land should be the site of more empty luxury condos and “creative” office space that no one will ever use! Put these people somewhere else, far, far away from my precious real estate!”

    It would be hilarious if it weren’t despicable.

    1. If you actually lived next to a city sponsored tent encampment or shelter hotel you’d better understand the nightmare it brings to your street and that reactions from residents are actually logical. In a better managed city, yes, these sites make sense, but in SF the direct site oversight is lacking and the externalities several blocks out are completely ignored.

      These sites bring all of the following to a several block radius: loud music, additional drug dealer traffic, street fires, new piles of trash and human waste, fist fights, new tent encampments nearby to take advantage of the services / waitlist, people on drugs damaging your property etc. It’s simply exhausting.

      The real problem is that the city is focused on actions / activities and not outcomes or results. Build 70 tent cabins? Sounds great! One year later…did these work? No one knows.

      1. If the real estate industrial complex hadn’t gentrified the city beyond affordability for something like 95% of the US population, there would be far fewer homeless people bumming your fry. If we (as a nation) offered decent-paying work for people without app coding degrees, you would have far fewer drug addicts.

        The homeless and addiction problems in the US are the precise (and predicted) result of specific bipartisan policies of the last many decades. If the US hadn’t squandered its resources enriching arms merchants by dropping bombs on harmless brown people all over the world; if the US hadn’t sent its young to go kill innocent people for no legitimate reason, turning generations of American vets into forgotten and despised ghosts; if the US hadn’t gutted its non-military industrial sector, gutting cities and depriving people of meaningful, well-paid skilled labor; if the US hadn’t facilitated depraved pharmaceutical manufacturers’ flooding decaying former industrial cities with cheap & strong narcotics; if the Fed hadn’t repeatedly bailed out Wall St (and by extension, the real estate industrial complex), with bottomless quantitative easing and historically-low interest rates, driving endless asset bubbles, sucking in millions of unqualified buyers to overpay for housing, driving housing prices through through the roof….but for all these carefully-designed policies, homelessness and housing affordability would be non-issues.

        But these policies have been very beneficial for the high-value asset-owning class and the professional-managerial class, especially for the real estate industrial complex. You have done quite well for the exact same reasons there we have homelessness and a housing affordability problem: successful, top-down, unilateral class war.

        You won! Yay! High fives all around! But please quit whining about how your victims are inconveniencing you or affect the quality of your lifestyle with trash, tents, fights, drugs, street fires, and waste.

        This is a situation the REIC helped create. Enjoy it!

        1. You tell a fun story. Too bad it is incorrect. The “real estate industrial complex” is not what made the city unaffordable. A bunch of businesses opened up, which attracted high paid workers and these workers bid up the price of housing. Construction of new housing decreased what would have otherwise been an even higher increase in rents.

          I’ve never seen any evidence come from you. Dogmatic belief in something in the face of overwhelming evidence reminds me of something. Now what would that be? Now I remember: anti-vaxxers, climate-denialists, the big lie apologists. Welcome to the world of wackos.

        2. Literally every private residence in this city, including those quaint Victorians and low-rise SFH in the Sunset and Richmond, were built by the big ol’ nasty “real estate industrial complex”.

          Who do you propose build the housing that you simultaneously say is desperately needed, yet you decry as contributing to “gentrification” (that most amorphous of boogeypersons… )

        3. Oh good grief. Why is it that the most sanctimonious and privileged are 1st in line to explain to everyone else that our eyes and ears are lying, yes lying to us, and only the woke know the secret formula! Factoid: tent camps here came into fashion during and following the Occupy occupation of post 2008 crash fame. Their tent encampment scheme metastasized with help from the same players now promoting the shanty village – who generously have provided thousands of free environmentally sustainable “throw-away in front of your house” tents. In the thick bible of unintended consequences otherwise known as the fauxgressive arc of San Francisco, it’s a mere footnote. I recall the 1st big encampment- it was a sprawling chop shop next to the Wells Fargo branch near city hall at Larkin and Grove.

    2. What’s despicable is spending hundreds of millions a year on homelessness and having literally no improvements to show for it.

      I just drove cross-country twice, spending several weeks back east including Phoenix, Chicago, and Boston. In all that time I think I saw 3 homeless people. Between exiting onto Park Presidio from the GG Bridge to my side street north of GG Park (i.e., a few blocks) I saw 5 homeless people – a couple of them, of course, trashing the greenway. And then there’s the homeless guy who accosted me the next morning as I walked to get coffee (you know, enjoy the urban lifestyle, contribute to the local economy…). So yeah, I agree there are some despicable things going on. But opposition to an ill-conceived and overly-costly temporary housing scheme on a prime piece of real estate is not one of them.

      1. Part — though of course not all — of the reason why this is more of an issue in California than in the cities you name is that we have a temperate, outdoors-all-year climate (Phoenix is probably fine 8 months of the year, Boston and Chicago more like 4). Homeless populations per capita have consistently been higher in CA and FL than anywhere else in the country for a long time. It is (again, in part) a national issue that is heavily exported here. There ought to be big federal dollars to pay for and plan solutions to this, rather than having city officials try, largely bumblingly, to solve it. (The McConnell/Trump swiping of the SALT deduction is the poison icing on the cake — “not only won’t we help fix this, we’ll punish you for trying.”)

        1. Correct. Homelessness is a national issue that can’t be “solved” at the local, or even state, level. Temperate cities are more livable outdoors year round, so as long as the ruling classes continue to use political economy to wage class war on poor and working people, those cities will likely have larger homeless populations than cities with more severe seasonal weather conditions. Local and state policies can ameliorate the problem at best. The cabins are an experiment that may help; regardless, they will provide information to help craft future local programs.

          My hearty bleeds for developers deprived for a few years from throwing up still more useless and wasteful luxury condos for real estate gamblers to drive property values even higher.

    3. As a matter interest two beers just how long have you lived in SF?

      Because you sound remarkably like a typical Ten Year Tourist with your litany of political cliches. For a start you seem to have not the slightest idea of the settlement and development history of SF since the 1840’s. The first wave of gentrification happened in the mid 1850’s and has ebbed and flowed ever since. Nothing new with what happened to the Mission in the last two decades. The first time it happened was after 1906.

      They have been some great scandals every generation in SF since the very beginning but based on your incessant Trickle Down Marxism for Pseudo Intellectuals posting content I get the distinct impression you know nothing about the history of SF or have any real idea of the actual scandals in SF since the 1960’s. And there have been some doozies. Still playing out.

      But you would not know about any of that stuff, would you. Much happier to trot out political cliches which were tired and trite even back when Regan was president.

      1. It’s completely irrelevant, but I’ve been here for decades. Your ad hominems and logical fallacies aside, yes, wealthy speculators have exploited working people with gentrification for ages. This makes it acceptable, by your account. Men have assaulted women for millennia; does that long history make that reprehensible activity just as acceptable? How many years does sordid behavior need to be engaged in in order for it to be grandfathered in, tolerated, or even lauded?

        But kudos to you for noting the city’s lengthy, deep, and ongoing history of real estate corruption and scandal. Not everyone in real estate is a scoundrel, of course, but the field attracts a startling number of psychopaths.

  3. As someone who lives 4 blocks from this site, I am 100% in favor of this proposal. This is a sensible pilot program to provide temporary shelter to our fellow citizens. It’s also more stable than the current tent arrangement. Yes, we need real affordable housing, but that takes time, money, and political will (which is in short supply here in SF).

    It should also be noted that the proposal for this site was pulled after Supervisor Preston and neighborhood activists from the Mission objected to the Hub rezoning due to equity concerns. So rather than allowing a development to move forward with both market rate and affordable units years ago (COVID may have inevitably tanked those plans), we’re in this current situation.

    1. I live witin a couple of blocks of this site, and I agree with you. Ideally this is developed into a combination of market rate and subsidized housing, heck, let’s make it so people who are actually homeless now can live in those new units – like you said though, that takes money and political will, that lacking, this is a better use of the space than the tents.

      What goes on inside the building though, does anyone know? Looks like a large space, can we not house people temporarily inside the building too?

  4. This is absolutely ridiculous. Tiny homes are such a waste of money and space. This shouldn’t even be a thought for temporarily housing. It’s very inefficient and expensive. There’s plenty of vacant warehouses, retail space or office buildings that can be converted into temporary housing until more real housing can be built.

    1. The tiny homes are paid for by non-profit fundraising for this site. The City will pay for the maintenance and services. That expense will not increase but the tiny houses will fit 70+ whereas the tents only sheltered around 40. So… it’ll cut the cost/person housed down significantly. And that is what Supes were asking for and it’s what the opponents were using for a reason to discontinue the other Safe Sleeping villages and to prohibit any more from becoming a reality. Not saying it’s the best idea ever. But it’s an improvement from what is currently in practice in SF. Oakland and San Jose have been doing this already. Oakland says about 50% of tenants in their sites move on to permanent housing.

  5. Glad to see on site services and 24-7 staff. That part can’t be cheap, but there should be some expectation of and assistance for self-improvement for people staying here.

  6. Some items of note: if you google around and look at who is building this, it’s a whose-who of Peninsula rich tech people – on the cutting edge of reprobate sanctimony, while ordering around their household help (their only exposure to the working classes), they love to dabble in remote-controlling a 1’s and 0’s solution.

    Also of note, the city now freely admits its love of placing these things on proposed development sites that are tied up in planning approval. A cheery inducement to neighbors to shut up and not lobby for improvements to proposed developments. Encampment football.

    Also of note, how this poor little patch of SF has been kicked around like Pele’s very own futbol since the freeway demo. Everyone wanted and expected the freeway to drop south of market, but the usual suspects from the Mission non profit Mafia protested that yes, such quality of life improvements would lead to gentrification so the whole disaster of dropping an off ramp into the middle of Market St came to pass, so they could depress land values and buy it up. Didn’t work, never does, but it’s been land use battles ever since because you know, we’re all really here to bear witness to spy vs spy land use intrigue, not to live our lives.

    Finally, be clear that those currently running amok in sprawling tent camps are not as they are being portrayed by our gaslighting interlopers. They qualify for jail or asylums or some combo of both and will not qualify for entry into this exclusive “Studio 54 sq feet” dance floor.

    When forecasting, the best look the hardest at trend lines, which are the gold standard for predicting the future. The trend lines are in this case foreboding.

  7. If you live around there, you know that the safe sleeping site hasn’t made a real dent in the debris AND the tents on the block & surrounding areas. Doubling the number of spaces w/the cabins won’t change that – just head over along Division (which also hosts a navigation center already) or Hayes valley. The other thing worth noting: It’s a terrible lot to use for this – triangle, cramped, right on the street. With so many other places (even in SOMA) that are basically large square parking lots this really stinks of deal cutting a shortcut in a neighborhood without enough homeowners or robust business district to holler.

    1. On Division they magically performed an all day cleanse worthy of goop upon announcing this latest one. Sunday. It was a full court press but the campers are just sprinkled around now.

    1. That homeless is homegrown thing is fiction. I have bothered to engage and have yet to meet anybody from SF. It’s part of the gaslighting epidemic. People are loath to engage in person and i get why, but it’s an eye opener.

      1. Per the City’s most recent survey in 2019, 70 percent of the homeless in San Francisco once had a permanent residence in the city; 43 percent have been in the city for over 10 years; and roughly 40 percent became homeless due to an eviction (13 percent) or having lost a job (26 percent), statistics we first noted back in 2016 and have held remarkably consistent ever since.

        1. Yes, the same surveys that explain that guy with the needle and the truck with Michigan plates is really an aspiring actor/dancer/singer/model displaced from my neighborhood. I love this site but everything about SF’s tent camp policies is laden with ineptitude, magical thinking and bracingly obvious fictions. Which is why it just keeps getting wildly more out of control every day. Interestingly, a huge number of encampments aren’t US citizens. They’re [foreign] dudes doing “bike repair” and other odd jobs. While some of the messiest, they tend to lean on booze versus fentanyl and be quite reasonable until they start drinking after dark. They are very active very late then closed for sleep most days until noonish.

          1. We must admit, it would be rather impressive if the homeless population has not only managed to coordinate their answers over the past five years but took into account the appropriate aging of each cohort, in order for the data to accurately track over time, as well!

            Either that or the survey results are relatively, or even simply directionally, accurate.

        2. False. The question posted in the point in time count does not mention “permanent” housing at all and would consider any roof over your head in San Francisco as “housed” in the city. Joe from Mississippi crashing with an uncle in an SRO before being booted out would be a San Francisco resident based on the question as phrased.

          1. From the most recent randomized survey of the homeless population, which resulted in 1,054 complete and unique surveys for a confidence interval of +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level when generalizing the results to the estimated population of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco in 2019:

            “Seventy percent (70%) of respondents reported living in San Francisco at the time they most recently became homeless. Of those, over half (55%) reported living in San Francisco for 10 or more years. Six percent (6%) reported living in San Francisco for less than one year. This is similar to survey findings in 2017 [and in 2015 as well].

            Eight percent (8%) of respondents reported living out of state at the time they became homeless. Twenty-two percent (22%) reported living in another county within California. The California counties in which respondents reported living at the time they most recently became homeless included Alameda County (8%), San Mateo (2%), Marin (2%), Contra Costa (1%), and Santa Clara (1%).”

            Thirty percent (30%) of respondents reported living in a home owned or rented by themselves or a partner immediately prior to becoming homeless; thirty-three percent (33%) had been living with family or friends; twelve percent (12%) reported living in subsidized housing; six percent (6%) were in a jail or prison immediately prior to becoming homeless; five percent (5%) had been staying in a hotel or motel; four percent (4%) had been in a hospital or treatment facility; three percent (3%) had been in foster care; and one percent (1%) had been in a juvenile justice facility.

            So sure, hypothetical “Joe from Mississippi crashing with an uncle in an SRO before being booted out” would qualify as a San Francisco resident based on the question as phrased but would represent a minority of the actual cases.

        3. We have been over this subject before. As someone who has been reading the street people survey statistics for the City since the 1980’s those numbers you quote bear not the slightest relationship with more than four decades (and more) of street surveys (published in the SF Chron/Examiner at the time) but more importantly with what I have observed on a daily basis over the last four decades.

          The street people I see and talk to today have exactly the same profile as those of the 1980’s and 1990’s. But quite different from the 2000’s to mid 2010’s. Three Strikes removed most of the street crims and street junkies from the streets in the late 1990’s and Prop 47/57 put them all back on the streets again. Especially Prop 57 with the street junkies. That has been the big change in street people makeup over the last decade. Back to the 1990’s mix.

          As for 43% having a ten year history in SF, dont believe it. Another thing I have learned is not to believe a single special interest “survey” without having a very close look at the raw data. None bears closer examination. I read “How to Lie With Statistics” many many years ago so know all the tricks of the trade. Those CI’s only work for truly random selection sample groups. And there is no more special interest group than the Homeless Industry in SF. Worth over $500M p.a.

          Of the people who are on the streets, not those who answer “surveys”, I see little difference in origin, duration, or personal problems from those I saw on the streets 30 / 35 years ago. Mostly out of towners, only a minority from SF or with real roots in the City. The only real change is there are fewer run-away kids. They’re in the East Bay now. But its still the same mix of drifters, alcoholics, junkies, street crims and mentally ill one has always seen.

          And every now and then you actually see someone who has just lost their place to live. Not many of those. Very easy to spot. And they mostly fall into the group of those who moved to SF many decades ago, had a cheap rent control place for decades, their income never kept up with the times, and now they lost their place but they refuse to accept that they will have to move to somewhere cheaper.

          The only way of solving the “homeless” problem is to shutdown all the programmes, waste of money, and put some of it into non-discretionary rehab / treatment programmes for the alcoholics / junkies, non-discretionary supervised medication / treatment for the mentally ill, and enforcement of quality of life laws and probation violations. That will clear out most of the current street people pretty quickly. Leaving only the true locals. When they did the last measure in the early 1990’s all the problem street people disappeared pretty quickly.

          The “Homelessness Crisis” is based on a big lie. They are Street People not Homeless People. And they are on the streets for a whole bunch of very disparate reasons. None to do with accommodation. And on SF streets because SF gives out so much free stuff. No other reason. There is a national population of maybe 600K plus street people. Give out more free stuff and more of that 600K plus will come to SF. Give out none, and watch the problem quickly fade away.

  8. It is really encouraging to see new approaches to the intractable problem of unsupported homeless encampments in the city. Rather than everybody yelling at each other from their ideological corners demanding the same tired solutions that have never worked, the right way to fix this is to try a bunch of different things, and keep careful track of how each of them works — the scientific method, expanded to large-scale social science. Setting up low-cost, low-overhead ‘small spaces’, with nearby services (toilets, running water, showers, police) is worth trying.

    My big concern, however, is that we need to see careful evaluation of how these experiments work out. For example, the site set up on Stanyan during a chunk of the covid lockdown seemed well-run and effective. Is there any data?

    1. The only people in “ideological corners” are the people who have no earthly idea of what us residents have to deal with. For us, reality is bright as day.

  9. Ok, now that you’ve walked back your claim about “permanent” housing, let’s look at the other numbers you cite:

    1. Just because a homeless person has lived in the city for a decade does not mean they were ever stably housed here. Ian Carrier is an example who comes to mind. We’ve been a gateway to the lifestyle for many decades.

    2. The Joe from Mississippi I described is the _plurality_ of “housed in San Francisco” homeless people in your stats (33% living with family or friends), and Bob from Mississippi who rented an SRO for a week before becoming homeless is part of who’s counted as the 30% “living in a home owned or rented by themselves”. The majority of the “last housed in San Francisco” homeless were boarders, subsidized, arrested, incarcerated, or transients. Your numbers don’t justify your original claim that, “70 percent of the homeless in San Francisco once had a permanent residence in the city” at all.

    1. Actually, the editor’s numbers do justify the original claim, you’re just redefining “residence” and “resident” to suit your ideological priors.

      1. No they don’t. The editor even walked back their claim of permanently housed. The only permanence about their housing situation is that they’re permanently a wedge issue that drives a firehose of money to a bottomless pit of failed nonprofit groups.

        1. We didn’t walk back anything. We did try to provide you with additional detail in order to elucidate the actual survey results at hand, but it doesn’t appear to have helped. Instead, you’re hanging your hat on a counterfactual hypothetical.

          Speaking of which, what you didn’t know is that Joe and Bob were both born and raised in San Francisco and had just been visiting friends in Mississippi before moving back home, at which point they were both permanently housed, in a SRO unit, before becoming homeless.

          Which brings us back to the actual data, need, and use at hand versus wasting time with hypotheticals…

    2. But aren’t the semantic games of “permanent housing” and “resident” beside the actual point?

      What benefit is there for the homeless to try and house them here in today’s San Francisco, one of the most expensive places on earth? If people don’t have current strong family ties here and/or a local career network or even a potential path to employment that could sustain a lifestyle here. You might look at once having had “permanent” housing as a proxy for having strong ties, but the city and the economy has changed quite a bit over the decades.

      Is is certainly cheaper to provide housing elsewhere, so given a certain amount of funding more housing can be built elsewhere. And many jobs here are high skill/high level, so even once housed it could be very difficult to go from formerly homeless to self sustaining. Many other areas have more jobs which could be “first steps” into employment.

      I already hear two beers crying NIMBY and RE conspiracy, but it’s like the old joke goes…

      Patient: “Hey Doc, it hurts when I do this”
      Doctor: “Well, then stop doing it”

      If the cost of housing the homeless here is very high and there is little to no benefit for them, then why are we even trying?

      1. Even if you disagree vehemently with “Jake T”‘s stance that we need to redefine having “a permanent residence in the city” to exclude almost everyone who doesn’t own a home or a tenant with a long term lease (“The majority of the “last housed in San Francisco” homeless were boarders, subsidized, arrested, incarcerated, or transients”) it’s easy to understand why Ian Carrier was invoked if one wants to make that point, or the related point by people such as “tfourier” who refuse to accept valid social science.

        He arrived in San Francisco in the early 2000s and was housed “every so often, but more often not.” He also used street drugs regularly.

  10. The city pays over $60/tent/year on these sites. College is cheaper than this. Anyone who votes for an incumbent in this city is a fool.

    1. Actually, every successful mayoral candidate since at least Art Agnos has been more hostile to the homeless than the previous one. Gavin Newsom started up a program to send homeless people back to their “hometowns” with city-funded one way bus tickets, and last I checked, that program was still in operation. Dare I mention “care not cash”?

      The current occupant of the office said in May of this year that homeless people were beating a path to this city to avail themselves of our largess, and warned them to stay out. She ran for office on a platform of support for forcing more homeless people into conservatorship programs. From Mayor London Breed Announces Plan for Strengthening Conservatorship in San Francisco (yes, this is a press release, so take it with a grain of salt):

      “We are moving forward to implement SB 1045 and SB 40 to help our most vulnerable residents. Conservatorship allows us to provide the wraparound services needed to stabilize people suffering from severe mental health and substance use issues, and help them begin their recovery to get their lives back on track,” said Mayor Breed. “We cannot allow people on our streets who are suffering to continue cycling in and out of our hospitals and the criminal justice system without getting the help they need. Allowing them to deteriorate on our streets when they are incapable of caring for themselves is not humane.”

      My point is that The City’s leadership thinks along the same lines as the right-wingers and glibertarians in this comment thread. But the difference is that they are doing something, and doing things that the law allows, not things that only make sense in right-wing wonderland.

  11. You give the same passe tired response someone from Iowa that knows nothing about the housing situation in SF gives, saying the reason there’s a drug addicted kleptomaniac with multiple severe mental diagnoses living in a tent is because some techie moved to town.

    The overwhelming majority of people on the street are not homeless secretaries down on their luck who got evicted from their condo in Russian Hill because of some evil techie. These are drug addicted sqautters who come to squat on our sidewalks because THEY CAN. Two things can and are true, these people need serious intervention and help, and theyre overwhlemingly drifter junkies.

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