Bay Area Briefs

Friday January 04, 2002

City will help homeless according to survey 


SAN FRANCISCO — The city will spend more than $100 million helping its homeless population this year, according to the first financial survey of homeless services in nearly a decade. 

The cost of coping with the thousands of people who have no place to sleep has swelled since the last time the city tried to account for such spending, according to a report released Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors’ budget analyst. 

Eight years ago, for example, the price tag of shelters alone was $4.5 million. This fiscal year, it will top $12 million. 

Supervisor Gavin Newsom asked for the report as part of an effort to determine why so many people remain on the streets suffering from poverty, mental illness and drug addiction despite the millions of dollars spent on aid. Newsom said the city needs to know whether the money is well spent. 

San Francisco’s annual homeless census recently found 7,305 people sleeping outside and in shelters, hospitals, jails and treatment programs – 36 percent more than in 2000. 



City to have Old Mint 


SAN FRANCISCO — The city has reached a tentative deal with federal officials that will let them take over the Old Mint, a long-vacant national landmark in the heart of downtown. 

The agreement would let San Francisco get to work on reopening the imposing but rat-infested “Granite Lady” as a museum, shops, offices or some combination. 

“The hope is to start rehabilitating the building this fall,” Hala Hijazi, project manager for Mayor Willie Brown’s Office of Economic Development, said Wednesday 

City officials hope a developer or the federal government will pay for at least part of the project. The city has estimated that the seismic work alone will cost at least $18 million. 

Also, the building has been deteriorating in the seven years since it was last open to the public, and will require additional restoration and lots of maintenance.