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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

School gym could shelter homeless families

The principal of a K-8 school in San Francisco’s gentrifying Mission District wants to shelter homeless families in the gym, reports Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The proposal, spearheaded by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, involves converting the smaller of Buena Vista Horace Mann’s two gyms to a family shelter from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day, including weekends, summers and holidays. The city would pay up to $900,000 per year to serve up to 20 families at a time with all-night staffing, food and support services to help the families find permanent housing. . .. . More than 60 families at the school are not in a stable housing situation and many are homeless, city officials say.

Some parents say the building needs repairs. They worry about security.

On Tuesday, one mother, who has a third-grader at the school, cried as she described her current living situation, which includes sharing a room with her three children in a place where she faces frequent threats of eviction and harassment if her children, including a toddler, make any noise. The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said she and her children don’t sleep well and her third-grade child is struggling in school because of the stressful situation. She is on waiting lists for more stable housing. “I feel very safe when I’m at the school,” she said. “I want to sleep in the gym.”

Is sharing a gym — available only from 7 pm to 7 am — with 19 other families really less stressful than sharing an apartment? Surely, $900,000 could get a lot of families into permanent housing.

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