We have reproduced this newsletter from Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s Office in its entirety. 

Last month, I updated you on my office’s work to help launch the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on behalf of the Board of Supervisors. When I ended my initial shift at the EOC, we were grieving for our sisters and brothers in Italy as they battled a tragic COVID-19 surge – and mourning the first reported death in San Francisco. Today, the United States has surpassed every other country on the planet with a heartbreaking death toll of more than 26,000 people. Here in San Francisco, we have seen a slow but steady increase in cases, putting us at 1,013 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a tragic 17 deaths as of this morning. It is clear that we must do a better job of tracking and stopping the spread of COVID-19 cases in our congregate sites, including shelters and Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Hotels.

Meanwhile, the country’s Chief Executive has announced he will cut funding to the World Health Organization. What a world, dear friends. I am more convinced than ever that we will only get through this if we continue to take care of each other and get back to fundamental community organizing and mutual aid.  Thanks to all of you for reminding me daily why District 3 is such a special community of helpers, from Ben Ramirez and his family to the relentless Anni Chung of Self-Help for the Elderly who has scaled up meal deliveries to 1,700 seniors a day. As my dear friend and newly retired Chinatown CDC Director Reverend Norman Fong says: “You’re beautiful.”

Stay safe,
Aaron


“We’re on this Ark together” by Michael Rios, 2020


#HotelsNotHospitalBeds – Stopping the Spread of COVID-19

When I first began helping to negotiate the procurement of hotel rooms for isolation and quarantine in March, it was always my understanding that our most vulnerable residents – particularly those unable to “stay home” – would have access to those rooms to ensure their ability to comply with the Shelter in Place mandate. While the Department of Public Health warned of the highly transmissive nature of congregate settings, the Administration denied this threat of spread, and then moved forward with a misguided plan to create costly mega shelters. Those plans were quickly scrapped in favor of transferring some shelter residents into hotel rooms.

I joined with Supervisors Haney, Ronen, Preston and Walton to quickly draft emergency legislation mandating the City procure (either through contracts or Executive commandeering) 8,250 hotel rooms for first responders, people living in SRO residential hotels and homeless shelters, and people experiencing homelessness on our streets. UCSF doctors and public health experts joined the call to action, reminding the Administration that quarantining our disadvantaged neighbors doesn’t just save the lives of our poor and disenfranchised – it actually helps prevent our hospitals from succumbing to a catastrophic surge in their need for intensive care units.

Shelter providers signed on to transfer their existing contracts and deploy staffing to hotels, while UNITE Here Local 2, which represents hotel and hospitality workers, pledged to work with the City to put custodial and hospitality staff back to work. The Budget & Legislative Analyst confirmed that state and federal reimbursements would cover over 90% of the cost of rooms through the end of the State of Emergency. Ultimately, the tragic outbreak at the MSC South Homeless Shelter was entirely preventable in a crisis where every hour counts. 

Thankfully, yesterday the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed our emergency ordinance, which the Mayor has 10 days to sign into law. In addition, I introduced a supplemental appropriation to immediately fund the remaining cost of the rooms, and will be working with Budget & Finance Chair Sandra Lee Fewer to ensure minimal impact to our General Fund.

MSC South’s infection rate was a whopping 73%, and we have also seen an alarming uptick in our SRO hotels, with over 32 buildings reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases. The speed with which the virus is attacking our congregate settings is an urgent warning to act quickly. So let’s get to work and get San Franciscans indoors as soon as possible.


Essential Construction Clarifications to Stop the Spread

After being inundated with calls and emails, I worked with the Department of Building Inspection and the Department of Public Health to temporarily prohibit most non-essential residential construction, including elective renovations and remodeling projects. The City’s original health order allowed such non-essential work, but we need to ensure contractors, inspectors and neighbors aren’t being put at risk and that we are preserving a safe environment for tenants sheltering in place. Construction of new housing with on-site affordable units may still proceed, as may construction to ensure safe and habitable living conditions.

The updated emergency health order went into place on March 31. If you’re still experiencing issues with contractors in your building or at neighboring homes or buildings, please call my office at (415) 554-7450 or email [email protected] to report the address and scope of work.


Small Businesses Demand End to Price Gouging – Food Delivery App Fee Cap

Local restaurants have long complained about the onerous fees delivery apps impose on their businesses, and gig workers have long complained that those profits don’t go to employee protections or benefits. So when pleas from the restaurant industry to offer a 50% fee rebate during the COVID-19 crisis went unheeded, I joined with Mayor Breed and Supervisor Safai to temporarily cap the fee that third-party delivery companies can charge restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. These fees typically range from 10%-30% and can represent a significant portion of a restaurant’s revenue, especially at a time when the vast majority of sales are for delivery. This commission fee can wipe out a restaurant’s entire margin.

To be clear, it is not acceptable that third-party food delivery services have been able to profit off this emergency while restaurants and their staff struggle to stay afloat. I am confident that this will help alleviate some of the strain on restaurants and workers who continue to operate in a limited capacity, and thank the Mayor for rising to this call.


SF Releases COVID-19 Data Tracker Dashboard

For weeks, I have been pushing the Department of Public Health and other City departments to join other Bay Area counties in tracking and sharing data about the spread of the coronavirus and the City’s response efforts. Aside from the public’s right to know this information, it is dangerous for policymakers to make critical decisions without the benefit of robust and well-organized data sets.

On April 7, the City and County of San Francisco launched a DataTracker that puts us on par with adjacent counties who have been sharing this information publicly for weeks. But we can still do better, which is why I’m continuing to push for information about confirmed cases in SROs and among the City’s homeless population to be made public, along with data about the capacity and occupancy of hotel rooms that have been acquired or commandeered for sheltering vulnerable populations and quarantining patients who are recovering.


NEW! District 3 One-Stop Shop for COVID-19 Resources

My office has built an online District 3 Master Resource List for information and resources regarding COVID-19. There you can find links to topics including health care, food access, economic help, getting online, volunteering, and much more. Please take a look and let us know if you have feedback or suggestions.

In addition, we are continuing our scrappy efforts to scour the city for in-kind donations to help with COVID-19 response. Do you have cleaning supplies to donate to an SRO or senior facility that needs urgent cleaning? Are you a local distillery (perfume, liquor, etc) that would like to work with our office to manufacture scarce hand sanitizer? Are you or your neighbors making cloth face masks and looking for a connection to groups that need them? Do you or your company have access to PPE, 3-D printers or testing kits – or a supply chain? Our office has been coordinating any and all donations, big and small. Email us for a follow-up!


VIDEO: Supervisor Peskin reads “The Cat from Telegraph Hill” for children learning from home. ​​​​​​​


District 3 School Update

SFUSD’s Formal Distance Learning Plan: SFUSD rolled out a distance learning plan while school sites remain closed to carry teachers, students, and parents through the June 2nd end of the academic school year. Thank you to parents who worked with our office to ensure that a laptop distribution site was coordinated in District 3. From March 31 to April 3, SFUSD distributed 258 Chromebooks from Gordon J. Lau Elementary School, along with deploying over 60 special devices and learning packets. Moving forward, SFUSD will be pivoting from site-based deployments to home deliveries, which will be coordinated in part by phone banking to confirm individual students’ needs.

Pre-K through 2nd Grade: Distribution of Learning Packets for Pre-K through Second Grade students happened today from 10:00am-1:00pm at Gordon J Lau Elementary and will continue as needed, so there are still options available for parents who missed today’s distribution.

Special Education: Parents of students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) are receiving Prior Written Notice of changes to their IEP’s. Last night, School Board Commissioners Moliga, Lopez and Collins introduced and passed a Resolution mandating a focus on these students’ immediate needs, whether related to education or basic support, so that they and their families have a plan in place for meeting their basic needs during the COVID-19 crisis and after.

Read more in the SF Examiner.


Misc. Ways to Help Our Community

Compass Family Services:
  • Buddy Program volunteers: This program connects high school and college students with the kids in Compass programs to provide them with support and connection during the shelter-in-place. For more information, please contact Karin Lamb at [email protected]
  • Needed Items: There are even more needs than usual among the families we serve. Click here to find our Amazon Wish List of commonly requested items.
  • Restaurant Support: Check with your favorite local restaurant to see if they would be interested in preparing and delivering meals for families in need, funded by generous local donors. At this time when restaurants are struggling to survive, this is an opportunity for restaurants to help our families in need, while generating business. Contact Stacy Webb at [email protected] for more information.
  • Used tablets needed for families: Devices need to be in good condition and no more than 3 years old. Contact Abbey Leonard at [email protected] for more information.
  • Interested in volunteering in another way? We have a ton of needs we would love to use your help with. Both remote and in-person opportunities. For more information, please fill out this interest form or contact Karin Lamb at [email protected]
Next Village SF: It’s crucial at this time to stay connected, so NEXT Village SF is seeking donations of tablets or laptops for older adults in our district who would like one. They will pick up, disinfect, and deliver them. Please email [email protected] or call (415) 888-2868.

Make Sure SF Is Counted! Please Fill Out the 2020 Census Form Today!

San Francisco’s Census responses are currently below the national, state, and regional response rate averages, and we are in danger of being undercounted. Everyone should do the census online at my2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020 as soon as you can. Your census responses are confidential and determine our representation in Congress. Census answers also determine how federal funding is distributed to schools, hospitals, roads, social services, and more. Particularly now as we prepare to enter a critical recovery period, we must demonstrate the depth and breadth of our needs.

You can do the census in 14 languages. It won’t take long, and you don’t need a pin code or a password. Help San Francisco get our fair share of federal funding and political representation. Find more information at sfcounts.org.


Help for Victims of Domestic Violence

Text to 9-1-1 is now available in San Francisco and provides a life-saving option for people in circumstances, including instances and patterns of domestic violence, where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1.

You can text to 9-1-1 when:

  • Someone is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 9-1-1;
  • An individual is deaf, hard-of-hearing, or has a speech disability; and
  • A medical emergency arises that renders the person incapable of speaking.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence and need assistance, please contact:
  • In an emergency, call 911
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Crisis Line: (415) 864-4722
  • La Casa de las Madres Crisis Lines: Adult Line 1-877-503-1850, Teen Line 1-877-923-0700
  • Asian Women’s Shelter Crisis Line: 1-877-751-0880
  • Saint Vincent de Paul Society – Riley Center Crisis Line: (415) 255-0165

SFPD’s Special Victims Unit also has an on-call team 24/7 at (415) 553-9225.

Additional resources for survivors of domestic violence can be found here