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.
Bevan Dufty is Director of Housing, Opportunity, Partnership, and Engagement for the city of San Francisco. In his new role brainstorming solutions to the city’s stubborn homelessness problem, Dufty has come up with some pretty novel thoughts. We wanted to hear about some of the most innovative, so we invited him in for a segment we call “Radical Ideas.”
As California sloshes through its rainy season, homeless people around the Bay Area are looking for places to stay dry. In San Francisco, the spaces under freeways are popular, and groups of homeless people sometimes band together for their mutual protection. Still, as you might expect, living on the streets isn’t safe or easy.
Finding an apartment in San Francisco these days is an uphill battle on any kind of budget. Craigslist ads and open houses can provoke hundreds of responses from people ready to compete for their share of the city’s scarce square footage, even at times willing to pay for months of rent in advance. For people without cash, things are a lot harder. Among those who find it most difficult are chronically homeless veterans.