In particular, a laudatory profile of the work of San Francisco homelessness chief Jeff Kositsky left me with the feeling that newspaper had buried the lede of its story. About 20 paragraphs in was this:
One hundred residents, our neighbors who live alongside those of us with relatively secure housing, lose their place to live every week. One hundred living, breathing people!
Experienced Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan assembled some of the numbers in an interesting graphic presentation. One point that stuck out was that when city authorities claim they've gotten some people off the streets, some good sized portion of that reduction has been achieved by giving people one-way bus tickets to somewhere else. Does that help anyone except flacks who have to explain city policy? Maybe, but I'm skeptical
Fagan dares attempt to explain why, at this moment in time, San Franciscans perceive an intolerable crisis.
After decades of hand-wringing and ineffectual policy initiatives, pretty much everyone agrees that the only true solution for people without housing is to provide housing. This is not a problem caused by the idiosyncrasies or disabilities of homeless individuals. It's not surprising that living on the streets drives some people crazy or encourages self-medication with alcohol and drugs. But if we don't like living alongside tent encampments, we have to move people inside.
The Chron reports that street people and allies have a substantive proposal:
When city authorities cry poverty at budget time, they need to remember this is a rich city. There's money here; it's time to put more of it to community use. Homeless people and their friends never have a chance to forget they live adjacent to riches.