Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mayor urges homeless to leave Transbay Terminal

"Go away, man!" Kolinio Waqairawai hollered at Mayor Gavin Newsom at first. But after they talked, he agreed to accept the mayor's offer of housing.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom visited a homeless encampment as part of a final push by city officials to find homes for about 30 die-hards who have used the soon-to-be-demolished Transbay Terminal and its web of overpasses as a shelter for years, repeatedly resisting the city's stepped-up efforts to get them into transitional housing.

Calling the Transbay Terminal home won't be an option in a week. That's when demolition is scheduled to start.

As soon as Newsom finished chatting with Kolinio Waqairawai, three city outreach workers approached him to try to formalize an agreement to move him into his own room in a single-resident occupancy hotel, where he will stay for free until permanent housing is found. Sometimes people agree to go and then change their minds; other times, hotel rooms aren't available and people are placed in shelters before housing is arranged. The process averages about six months, Newsom said.

"People end up doing six years on the street because they didn't want to do six months in a transition," Newsom said. "That's the most frustrating part."

Read the San Francisco Chronicle report here. And see previous post here.


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