Balboa Park Vehicle Triage Center Receives Outpouring Of Community Support

INGLESIDE, San Francisco — The officials and neighbors overseeing the Vehicle Triage Center, a homeless center on the Upper Yard at Balboa Park Station, got a bit of good news during their latest meeting held via Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The community made 700 donations in support for the safe parking program, VTC Working Group members reported on Wednesday, May 20.

“The community has shown its support for the VCT effort, but I would like more hard numbers about the results we’re getting and the resources the city is willing to devote,” New Mission Terrace Improvement Association President David Hooper said.

Currently there are 31 guests, 13 recreational vehicles, 7 cars and 15 pets — all dogs — on site, according to Angel Morales-Carrion, coordinator of operations at Urban Alchemy, a non-profit organization put in charge of the site by the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Urban Alchemy provided guests with 140 showers, 56 loads of laundry throughout April, as well as timely meals and essential items.

The Homeless Outreach Team continues doing the referral and outreach portion of the program. 

Emily Coen, policy advisor for SFHSH, described how VTC guests are being kept safe as they shelter in place. Issuing personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and maintaining precautionary shelter-in-place guidelines, have resulted in no reported cases of COVID-19.

“If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic it’s that people are beginning to realize — what we’ve been saying for 20 plus years — that housing is a health care issue,” Coen said.

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