It is a problem that has been worsening for years and with it comes crime and safety concerns.
Locals have demanded that something be done but for too long their cries have fallen on deaf ears.
Now, Gavin Newsom has cleared the homeless away from San Francisco, but the reason will infuriate you.
Homelessness is a systemic problem and a result of failed public policy
San Francisco has a homeless rate of 887 people per 100,000 residents.
That is according to a 2023 report from the San Francisco controller’s office on 16 American cities.
That number means that the city’s homelessness ranks third-highest rate in the country behind two other Californian cities, Oakland, and Los Angeles.
According to the Manhattan Institute, the city is a magnet for the homeless.
The city’s own statistics show that 30% of the homeless moved there after they had already lost housing.
An additional 17% lived in the city for less than a year before becoming homeless.
Mayor London Breed readily admits that one reason people are coming is easy access to drugs.
Now, the city has made a visible effort to clean the streets before next week’s U.S.-China summit next week.
Part of that effort includes the removal of homeless camps around the city.
The Governor of the once-Golden State is keenly aware how all this looks.
Leftist California Pols know how bad this looks
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Friday, “I know folks are saying, ‘Oh they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town.’ That’s true, because it’s true — but it’s also true for months and months and months before APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit], we’ve been having conversations.”
According to KTVU, the recent efforts by the city have resulted in a “noticeable” change to the cleanliness of the streets and far fewer homeless encampments on major thoroughfares.
Mayor London Breed told KTVU that the summit could lead to $53 million being injected into the economy, and that “tourism is our business here in San Francisco.”
Left to interpretation is that the syringes, graffiti and human waste are bad for business for the fat wallet crowd in a way that is apparently more important than for the regular folks who live and work in the city.
Community activist Ricci Lee Wynne told The New York Post, “They’ve cleared out the tents that were near the Moscone Center on Howard Street, which tells me the city had the capability to do this all along — instead they just do the bare minimum. Once APEC is gone, police presence will start to simmer down again, the tents will return, and it will slowly flare up again. What we need is a permanent solution.”
One suspects that Wynne is onto something.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, more than two dozen notable businesses have either shuttered or scheduled closures so far this year.
Crime rates are sky high, and families are skipping town as a result.
Unless and until the city gets criminal activity under control by throwing offenders in jail and acts to curb blatant drug abuse, the homeless encampments will quickly return.
Here’s to hoping the city’s voters and political leaders decide to take a new approach.