Hotels in San Francisco used as temporary shelters for the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic are seeking millions of dollars in compensation for damage caused under the city-instituted program.
The city's Shelter-in-Place Hotel Program was created in April 2020, and designed to provide temporary housing for homeless people at risk of contracting the virus. The goal of the program during the pandemic was to help guests stay in shelters as consistently as possible.
But now that the pandemic has abated and tourism has rebounded, some hotels that participated are requesting the city reimburse them for damages.
The San Francisco Standard reported in May the Hotel Union Square submitted a claim to the city for damages totaling $5.6 million to property, and $560,000 for loss of use of the hotel for a month. The claim cited extensive water and smoke damage, making the units unavailable to rent in October 2021, the month after the city ended the program at the hotel.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday the Tilden Hotel filed a claim of $6.5 million, and The Good Hotel and Hotel Vertigo are also expected to file claims. The Chronicle reported 25 hotels participated in the program, housing 3,700 people.
Despite the city possibly being responsible for millions of dollars in compensation, it considers the program, which it expects to end this year, successful.
"I know what (Hotel Union) asking for is expensive," Emily Cohen, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, told the Chronicle. "But in terms of lives protected, homelessness ended, we still consider it a major success."
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