San Francisco Green Lights Tiny Housing Units

It’s Tuesday, September 21

Hey, San Francisco! It’s a boy!

Big congratulations to The SF Minute’s Nick Bastone and wife Kelsey for welcoming their first child to the world last week!

I’m Alex Mullaney, The SF Minute's first guest editor! I teach journalism at City College of San Francisco and publish the Ingleside Light neighborhood news site, which is marking its 13th year this month. Glad to be here.

On to the news!

After the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire turned the city into rubble, quick-to-build tiny cottages were used to shelter refugees. Some of these “earthquake shacks” are still around if you know where to look. Now, more than a century later, they’re making a come back.

The city will sanction simple wood structures to house people after more than a year of operating tent and RV villages in the aftermath of the pandemic, longtime San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan scoops.

A City College-owned property located at 33 Gough St., which presently serves as a safe sleeping village with 44 tents, will be outfitted with 70 tiny cabins. The nonprofits DignityMoves and Tipping Point Community will foot the $1.7 million bill.

“Each 64-square-foot cabin will have a steel frame, 2-inch-thick walls, heating systems, a desk, a bed and a window,” Fagan writes. “The site will get improved bathrooms, storage spaces and a dining area.”

Other cities have successfully operated similar sites for years. The lease for this pilot site is 18 months, which is likely when City College’s tenant will begin construction of a tower on the site.

The news must be music to the ear of Amy Farah Weiss, founder of the Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge and two-time candidate for mayor, who has urged city leaders to do this very program since 2015.

Quick Bits

  • The maskless mayor saga continues. Who’s the victim? The mayor at the hands of the “fun police” or the restaurant and bar industry weary of enforcing the mask rules? Hear San Francisco Chronicle Senior Editor Mariecar Mendoza, whose reporting started it all, tell the story on the Fifth and Mission podcast.

  • Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce is in full but downsized effect in South of Market through Thursday. Will Smith, Jane Fonda and the Foo Fighters will be in attendance but not the usual throngs of tech workers due to pandemic caution. CBS SF Bay Area reports participants levels are in the hundreds. 

What else I’m reading

And finally …

Halloween is over a month away, but it’s not too early for some pranks. Conceptual artist Danielle Baskin, known for her viral fake website Blue Check Homes, pulled the first one of the spooky season. 

Since Google has yet to return to its offices on the Embarcadero, Baskin thought it might be fun to imagine a Spirit Halloween taking over the space. With a sign printer, she made it happen. It’s an idea that is sure to make commercial realtors shiver.

Have a great evening. See you Thursday! —Alex Mullaney