San Francisco's landmark Palace of Fine Arts is being converted to a makeshift homeless shelter for up to 162 people to help fight the coronavirus spread


san francisco palace of fine arts

  • San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts venue is being converted into a temporary homeless shelter to help in the fight against the coronavirus disease.
  • Up to 162 people living in existing shelters will be moved in to free up room in those shelters for better social distancing practices.
  • Using the landmark structure is a part of a larger city mission to establish temporary housing and treatment sites amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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San Francisco’s signature Palace of Fine Arts venue will be used as a makeshift homeless shelter amid a coronavirus outbreak in the city.

The facilities, originally built in 1915 in the city’s Marina District for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, will house up to 162 people that are living in shelters already set up in the city, according to a message posted on social media by City Supervisor Catherine Stefani.

According to Stefani’s post, everyone will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entering the facilities, and there will be a strict curfew in place for those sheltering there. The city will start moving people in as soon as the end of this week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Placing people in the Palace of Fine Arts will allow more room for social, or physical, distancing in existing shelters. 

Recent CDC guidelines advise to not move homeless individuals into temporary housing units unless they have space to social distance once inside. That means that the potential makeshift shelters being created in hotels, schools, and other facilities in San Francisco are viable options to get people off the streets as long as there is enough space for social distancing in them. 

Using a San Francisco landmark for emergency housing purposes is a part of a larger citywide effort to establish temporary housing and treatment sites to help in the fight against the disease. Specifically, the goal is to prioritize housing for self-isolation for healthcare workers, first responders, and vulnerable residents such as those living in homeless shelters and supportive housing. 

The city’s mega-conference hall, Moscone Center, is another venue that has since been converted into an emergency homeless shelter to help with overcrowding in existing shelters. The center will house up to 400 people. And the ritzy Bay Club San Francisco Tennis facilities in the SoMa district, slated to eventually be demolished and replaced with a Pinterest office, will also be turned into a temporary housing shelter.

The city is also turning to the thousands of unoccupied hotel rooms in the city as a means of emergency housing. The travel and tourism industries have taken a hit amid the coronavirus pandemic, rendering hotel rooms empty.

SEE ALSO: San Francisco police have begun ticketing people who are violating the shelter-in-place order to contain the coronavirus

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