Among San Francisco’s many single-room occupancy hotels, SROs as they’re known, the Civic Center Hotel at 12th and Market streets was among its most notorious.
It was known as a haven for violence and drugs — long-time residents recalled stabbings and even recalled a time when people would climb into the building via the adjacent travel lodge. It got so bad San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued the former managers over the squalid conditions.
Still, the hotel was viewed as a step-up from the streets for many of the city’s homeless denizens. It was at the very least, a roof. But now the hotel has undergone a transformation turning it into a valuable resource in the city’s efforts to provide a leg-up for homeless trying to transition into stable lives.
The city contracted with the Community Housing Partnership to take over management of the hotel. CHP group changed janitorial services and upgraded bathrooms. But the most profound change was to remodel old downstairs storage rooms to accommodate new on-site centers offering 24-7 social services, meals and laundry to the roughly 100 residents who will occupy the building.