Author: Edward

San Francisco’s Homelessness Crisis

San Francisco’s Homelessness Crisis

Column: A skid row response to mayoral homeless promises: Bring not words, but deeds and truth.


The city has a good record of implementing homeless programs. In addition to the shelter in the Mission, the city has a contract with Tenderloin Housing Project to house the homeless until they can get permanent housing. And just two years ago the city adopted a $20 million plan to build housing for the homeless by the end of next year and build permanent supportive housing by the end of 2014.

The city has even gone further. The mayor has pledged to take on a number of “hot spots” in the Tenderloin, and he intends to build a new city-run mental health facility to replace the one that’s being closed down. On the other hand, we have what the mayor has termed the “last bastion” of the city’s chronic homelessness: the Mission. The City Council has repeatedly shot down attempts to deal with the Mission’s homeless population. On the other hand, the Mission’s homeless population has grown even faster than the city has.

A recent report by the city’s Homeless Commission recommended the city focus on three hot spots: the Tenderloin, Chinatown and the Mission. (I should mention that the commission itself is not anointed or appointed, but is made up of a representative cross-section of homeless people and organizations. I am an outspoken critic of this commission, and feel it needs to be reformed and put under public scrutiny so that homeless people can have a more meaningful voice in the decision-making process.)

The problem is that the city was planning on addressing these problems by creating a “San Francisco Homelessness Task Force,” which would be divided into three teams to focus on three different hot spots. However, there is still no dedicated body tasked with addressing all the Mission’s homeless: a “Mission Housing Coordinator” is not part of the mayor’s Task Force and it is entirely unclear who would replace the Mission Housing Coordinator—if anything, the taskforce should focus on reducing the number of homeless people on the Mission who have the “last bastion” of the city’s chronic homelessness—the Mission Stables. (We have been discussing the need for some kind of “Mission Stable Services” since

Leave a Comment