Homeless By the Bay
My latest SFGate column looks at the ongoing problem of homelessness in San Francisco, including my own experiences as a resident, and some possible solutions:
When San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom initiated a program in conjunction with Google last month to provide phone and messaging facilities to the homeless, it was the latest chapter in the city's seemingly never ending quest to tackle homelessness. While the program may prove useful for those inclined to better their situation, it is unlikely to have an impact on the chronically homeless.Continue reading "Homeless By the Bay"
San Francisco has the highest per capita number of homeless in the nation, and city officials have quite a challenge on their hands. And to hear Mayor Gavin Newsom or Angela Alioto, his appointee to chair the Homeless Ten-Year Plan Council, tell it, they are making great strides. City officials seem determined to put on a happy face when it comes to combating homelessness. But it's hard to believe any of them actually live here.
For the residents of San Francisco, the blight of homelessness has only gotten worse over the years, and today it has reached critical mass. One is hard pressed to walk around just about any neighborhood without having to run a gantlet of panhandlers, step over passed-out drunks or drug addicts, maneuver around the mentally ill or try to avoid the stench of urine and the human feces littering the sidewalk. These days, the streets of San Francisco resemble the streets of Calcutta.
Having lived in San Francisco since the early 1990s (with the exception of a year spent in the East Bay), I've witnessed my fair share of street scenes involving the homeless.
Update: Psychoanalyst and blogger, Shrinkwrapped, pointed me (via the Libhawks) to a very good post of his from 2005 titled, "NY & San Francisco." He looks at the homeless situation in San Francisco from a New Yorker's perspective, and comes to some very thoughtful conclusions.
Update (3/20): Excellent post at American Digest, courtesy of Gerard Van der Leun who left the link in my comments section: "The Black Hole of San Francisco." Needless to say, he captures the "Homeless Depot" of San Francisco in all its gritty, er, glory.