San Francisco has reportedly put in motion plans to relocate its homeless away from Super Bowl festivities and towards shelters.
Over the last few weeks, workers have been dispatched to the Embarcadero at the city’s famed Market Street to help those who are homeless there find shelter elsewhere, reported Bloomberg. The venue is also the site of its ‘Super Bowl City’ fan village, which will be hosting free concerts, games, and player appearances as fans descend for events surrounding Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7. The Embarcadero is about 45 miles away from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, where Super Bowl 50 will be played.
“When a lot of cameras are going to be pointed on the city, they want to have an image of the city that does not include poverty,” Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director at the San Francisco-based Coalition on Homelessness, told Bloomberg. “They want to decrease the physical presence and reminder of poverty and create an illusion that poverty does not exist by removing poor people from the vicinity of the Super Bowl party.”
San Francisco has the eighth-worst homeless rate in the nation, according to Bloomberg. The latest point-in-time general street and shelter count found 6,686 homeless people in the state, a 7% increase over a similar count in 2005.
Mayor Ed Lee has long emphasized the need for the homeless to leave the Embarcadero during the Super Bowl. “We are always going to be supportive. But you are going to have to leave the street. Not just because it is illegal, but because it is dangerous,” said Lee last August in the San Francisco Gate. In response, the city is also adding around 500 extra beds on a night-to-night basis during Super Bowl week as part of their winter shelter program.