San Francisco residents sue city gov't over homeless shelter plan

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-11 16:39:39|Editor: Wu Qin
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SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 (Xinhua) -- A coalition of local residents on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the city government over a controversial plan to build a homeless shelter near Embarcadero along the city's eastern shoreline, which is home to several waterfront attractions, an advocacy group said.

The San Francisco citizens group, Safe Embarcadero for All, brought the lawsuit in the Sacramento County Superior Court to seek a temporary restraining order aimed at blocking the city government's plan to proceed with the construction of the Navigation Center, a 200-bed shelter for the homeless, at a parking lot of a busy residential center.

The lawsuit is the latest attempt by the disgruntled residents to challenge Mayor London Breed's ambitious proposal to build more shelters that will help move the homeless off the streets.

More than 4,000 people sleep on the streets or have no shelter each night in San Francisco, according to local media reports.

"San Francisco (city government) unilaterally approved a mega-housing project on San Francisco Bay-front land burdened by the public trust, which prohibits housing without prior State Lands Commission approval ... without any environmental or design review," said the coalition in the lawsuit.

The legal battle is set to aggravate the contention between the city government and the residents over how to address the pressing issue of the homeless that some see as hurting the city's reputation and tourism.

The local residents feared the massive shelter for the homeless people would create security concerns for their life and environment, including disease, abuse of drugs and alcohol, crime, public urination and defecation, and other nuisances.

The city's port commission approved the shelter plan in April, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected appeals by the coalition of neighborhood groups last month, clearing the way for construction.

Mayor Breed has been vehemently calling for building more shelters for the homeless, which is one of her major priorities since she took office last year.

Breed has promised to expand the capacity of shelters citywide to 1,000 beds by the end of 2020.