Kids in San Francisco are asking teachers for help with housing. Homeless students want to know if they can spend the night with their families in the school gym, and one school is working to change the answer from no to yes.
On Monday night, the principal of Buena Vista Horace Mann School and elected officials met with Mission district neighbors to share their plan to help those students by opening the school gym to a maximum of 60 people from the school community at night.
The city has budgeted $700,000 for what it is calling a pilot "stay-over program."
Principal Claudia Delarius Moran said she knows at least 60 of her 600 students are homeless because they ask for help.
"We’ve had students tell us they don’t feel safe where they’re staying," she said. "They’d prefer to stay with us and by us; they mean at school."
William Paniagua says his stepdaughter Kelly struggled when they were living in a shelter.
"Knowing you have a place adds stability to your life," he said.
Most neighbors say it’s a welcome solution. But some are concerned about security and say organizers should have asked neighbors for input from the beginning.
"I can’t tolerate kids across the street in the community that don’t know where they are sleeping," resident Sion Shankle said.
Another resident, Jeff Cluett, added: "I’m certainly in favor of the program being here. I just hope there’s open lines of communication if we have concerns."
A nonprofit will be selected to run the pilot set to begin in November.