SFWeekly, A Burning Need for Sprinklers: In the wake of several large fires, Sup. Aaron Peskin fights to improve safety at S.F.'s single-room occupancy hotels.
“We live in fear of having fires all the time,” says Candy Crawford, a resident at Mission Hotel. . . .
The risk of fire is not a small one for residents of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels. Many are low-income, living on disability checks or Social Security — and often, whole families share rooms. In a city suffering from a fierce, relentless housing crisis, these small units — most without kitchens or even bathrooms of their own — become home for thousands of people trying to make ends meet in San Francisco. Lose that, and you lose everything. . . .
The “saving lives” portion is very real. Tim Hwang [of Dolores Street] leads fire prevention workshops at SROs around the city, and says that he speaks to many residents with limited mobility.
Cookie Howard, a tenant leader at the Mission SRO Collaborative and who lives in a residential hotel, says “we’ve had several fires since I’ve been there. I’m trained in NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Training) and I have been a safety monitor in our building. I don’t know how many fires we’ve had and the sprinklers haven’t gone off one time.”