Crosscurrents looks at different issues in homelessness in San Francisco: the lack of public showers and bathrooms, Mother Brown's in Bayview, foraging for free food, and local musicians The Ives Quartet.
There's one issue that both the Democratic and Republican parties are dealing with in this upcoming election: the economy. In San Francisco, the unemployment rate surpassed 7.5% in July – just short of the national average. But across the bay in Oakland, unemployment has reached a startling 14.5%. KALW's Hear Here community storytelling team recently met one Oakland resident who lost her job, but found a new way to feed herself.
If you walk upstairs from the kitchen at Mother Brown’s drop-in center in the evening, you’ll find dozens of people sleeping in chairs. During the day, Mother Brown’s serves home-cooked meals to the homeless in San Francisco’s Bayview district. There are over a thousand people without homes in Bayview -- the second-highest homeless population in the city. But there’s not one shelter. So for more than a decade, Mother Brown’s has been offering chairs. Now they want to offer beds.
There are roughly 6,400 homeless people in San Francisco. According to Laura Guzman, Director of the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, one of the biggest challenges they face is finding public restrooms.
“I remember when we opened, the conversation was all about poop on the street,” says Guzman. “We used to talk about ‘poop and needles,’ we call it. But it’s critical that the community understands – if there is no bathroom access, people are going to poop on the streets.”
Nowadays the conversation isn’t about just keeping the sidewalks clean, but how to provide more showers for those without homes. Now one of the cleanest forms of transportation is about to hit the streets.