A group of wealthy San Francisco residents has launched a GoFundMe campaign to finance the legal costs of opposing a proposed homeless shelter on the city's eastern waterfront.
Earlier this month, San Francisco Mayor London Breed proposed a location for a 200-bed Homeless Navigation Center in the city's Embarcadero section. But residents of the wealthy waterfront neighborhoods near the proposed site are fighting back with lawyers and money.
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The GoFundMe campaign, dubbed "Safe Embarcadero for All," was created on March 20, and has already raised more than $46,000 of its $100,000 goal. More than 90 people have donated thus far, many of them anonymously.
"South Beach, Rincon Hill, Bayside Village, East Cut & Mission Bay residents, businesses and other interested parties are organizing to oppose the Navigation Center proposed for Seawall Lot 330," reads a description on the campaign's page. "Given the multiple interested parties, potential legal costs and restrictions on the Boards of our [Homeowners Associations] from taking independent action, our new group, Safe Embarcadero for All, invites you to join us."
Both the proposed site and the surrounding neighborhoods are located in California's 12th Congressional District, represented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). San Francisco is among the wealthiest city's in the country, with an average household income of $141,000.
One of the campaign's donors ($1,000) appears to be Jerome Dodson, the chairman of Parnassus Investments, a "responsible investment fund" with more than $25 billion under management that targets "companies that build wealth for out clients and have a positive impact on society." The firm's headquarters are located less than a mile down the road from the proposed shelter site. Dodson has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates over the years, including Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. Andrew Zacks, the attorney representing "Safe Embarcadero for All," donated $1,000 to Rep. Jim Acosta's (D., Calif.) campaign in 2017.
Opponents of the homeless shelter have also launched a website dedicated to their cause, and have even created a hashtag for the campaign. "The planned location for Mayor Breed's #megashelter is home to thousands of families, visited by millions of tourists and at the center of some of San Francisco's most iconic events – including the San Francisco Marathon, San Francisco Giants stadium and on one of the busiest bicyclist paths in the city," reads a note on the website's home page. The group's Change.Org petition to challenge the location of the homeless shelter has nearly met its goal of 1,500 signatures.
In response to the opposition, Mayor Breed tweeted Wednesday that San Francisco's homelessness crisis is so bad the city "can't afford unnecessary delays."
Homelessness is a crisis in our city and we need to act to get people off the streets and into housing. We're happy to demonstrate how these Nav Centers work and the benefits they've brought to other neighborhoods, but we can't afford unnecessary delays. https://t.co/WlqpQYahsd
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) March 27, 2019