Homelessness Disaster in San Francisco

To suggest that a few of the country’s largest cities are declining is an understatement.

San Francisco and the Bay Area are great examples. Long renowned for its pleasant climate, inviting spirit, and one of the planet’s modern engineering marvels, the city has attracted visitors, startups, and some brightest minds in technology. 

Nonetheless, in June last year, San Francisco’s chamber of commerce conducted a poll and discovered over 40% of inhabitants expressed a desire to leave the city. 

70 percent believe the city’s quality of life has deteriorated. How did we arrive at this point?

Homelessness Epidemic

The area’s homelessness epidemic contributes significantly to the reduction.

According to the same poll, 88 percent believe homelessness has gotten worse in recent years. 80 percent believe addressing the crisis of homelessness is a high priority. 

The Bay Area’s homeless population continues to grow; officials appear to be barking up the wrong tree, even asking local citizens to take homeless people in their spare rooms. 

While numerous benevolent families are willing to assist in resolving this situation, this is not a feasible option for the Bay Area’s over 30,000 homeless residents.

Mayor London Breed of San Francisco pledged to handle “all the bulls*** that has devastated our city” by developing a policing strategy for the Tenderloin neighborhood, which is rife with homeless people, drug use, drug trades, and untreated mental illness. 

Sadly, the mayor’s realization that the once-great city has been destroyed is not accompanied by an acknowledgment of what killed it. 

Open-Air Drug Use

Additionally, the city operates the Linkage Center, a drug rehabilitation facility located in the midst of what has been characterized as an open-air drug market.

The center’s mission is to connect addicts to services such as housing, treatment, and respite. 

According to multiple sources, drug usage happens at the center, raising whether the Linkage Center is preventing or fueling drug consumption. 

However, the Linkage Center demonstrates city officials fail to connect homelessness to its underlying causes, such as addictions and mental illness. 

Until policymakers solve this, their failure to manage substance abuse and mental illness, as well as the growing homelessness epidemic, will persist. 

By misdiagnosing homelessness as simply a lack of housing, rather than one of the numerous issues confronting the homeless, cities in crisis will continue to address only one component of a multidimensional problem.

Rather than that, the goal of providing accommodation as soon as feasible (and then providing support services) results in a considerable number of homeless people remaining unhoused until supportive housing is achieved. 

 

When a Harvard team examined the long-term use of supportive housing, they discovered while retention rates were high during the first year, they fell precipitously after that. After ten years, only 12% of previously homeless people remained housed. 

Perpetual dependence on housing-first policies will not resolve our homelessness challenge, just as treating sickness symptoms will not cure it.

We cannot begin to address the problem of substance misuse and mental illness until we accept the problem. 

Unfortunately, progressive legislators would rather encourage safe consumption facilities, where folks could use heroin, morphine, and other illegal substances without risking a lethal overdose.

According to some, the Linkage Center is morphing into precisely that. However, drug addiction can never be cured through “safe” intake.

Numerous cities have attempted and failed to combat homelessness only through the lens of housing. They now appear to be attempting to combat drug addiction by increasing drug use.

That is precisely the incorrect course of action.

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