Monday, June 27, 2016

San Francisco's "Unsolvable" Problem

Diane Feinstein was the first mayor
to confront the problem (Chron--1986)
This week the Chronicle runs a landmark series of articles on San Francisco's homeless problem. Despite many millions of dollars spent and the attention of six mayors, the headline reads:
"SF homeless problem looks the same as it did 20 years ago."

The limitations aren't just financial. Estimates of San Francisco's homeless population run between 7,000 and 10,000, of which about a third are mentally ill. [bold added]
SF Chronicle--they tried and failed:
Mayors Agnos, Jordan, Brown and
Newsom. Will Ed Lee succeed?
The city would need hundreds of new psychiatric-care beds to get them off the sidewalks — the current inventory of fewer than 1,000 is not nearly enough. But even if it created those beds, getting people into them is difficult. Unless they are judged a danger to themselves or others, the mentally ill can’t be forced into care.
As someone who has encountered the homeless in off-and-on charity work over two decades, your humble blogger has the glimmer of appreciation for how intractable the problem is. Keeping above water in our rapidly changing society is difficult enough, but for those who are mentally ill, disabled, and/or engaged in substance abuse, getting a job and getting off the streets is usually out of the question.

Turning one's life around requires an unwavering commitment that would have probably forestalled homelessness in the first place.

"Mayor Willie Brown...ultimately — and famously — declared the homeless problem unsolvable."

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