As Super Bowl 50 quickly approaches, San Francisco officials are trying to relocate the city’s homeless from the Embarcadero, where the Super Bowl City complex was constructed, by adding more beds to shelters around San Francisco.
Travelers from all over the world will be in the Bay Area by Sunday, Feb. 7 to see the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos live in the final football game of the season.
As of 2015, San Francisco was home to a more than 6,500 homeless people, according to a report on the city and county of San Francisco’s website.
Mayor Ed Lee has added 500 extra beds around San Francisco in addition to the 1,233 permanent beds already in the city, including a 150-bed shelter at Pier 80, according to SF Gate. The official reason for the Pier 80 shelter is the increased rain caused by the El Niño weather event, but some citizens cite statements Lee made to KPIX 5 last August about the city’s homeless population and the Super Bowl.
“We are always going to be supportive, but you are going to have to leave the streets,” Lee told the news channel.
However, the city maintains that the Pier 80 shelter is a direct response to El Niño.
“The urgency to get people inside is driven only by El Niño, period,” Trent Rhorer, head of the Human Services Agency, said to SF Gate. “If anyone’s moving anyone out for the Super Bowl, I don’t know about it.”
Quinn Easter, a tourist from Southern California, traveled on BART and said the homeless people may be off the streets, but they are still around and in places that aren’t so apparent.
“It looks cleaner on the outside, but I don’t know if it’s any cleaner overall,” Easter said. “I don’t know if they have fully addressed the homeless problem.”
A local homeless man, who performs at Pier 39 and is known as Silver Man, said it’s unfair to push out the people who don’t have money for the people who do.
“I mean, they shouldn’t really be doing that shit here if that’s how they feel about unfortunate people,” said Silver Man. “It ain’t their fault that they’re in that predicament, and, I mean, I know there’s going to be
a lot of people out here, there’s going to be a lot of money and all that, why can’t they enjoy the festivities, because they’re not rich?”
Not everyone disagrees with the homeless relocation. San Francisco resident Brooks Blodgett believes this could be a positive thing for the less fortunate.
“Hopefully the homeless shelters will take in more people. They’re homeless; they don’t really have anywhere else to go, so they need to have somewhere dry to sleep,” said Blodgett. “I used to live downtown for a long time, so it never really bothered me, but they are obviously going to try to come down here anyways to ask for money.”
Although some people are concerned with cleaning up the city in time for the Super Bowl, other residents are still worried the city is forgetting about the people who still live there.
“The streets gotta look clean and everything, but people are a part of the city too,” Silver Man said. “They’re a part of the city just as well as the people with money.”
- Noble Mitchell (right) holds a sign as people walk by on Drumm Street near the Super Bowl City festivities in San Francisco, Calif., Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. (George Morin / Xpress)