Homelessness

Liz Pfeffer


California has the largest concentration of homeless veterans in the nation, and in San Francisco, it’s likely that more than 700 homeless vets will sleep on the street or in shelters this Veterans Day. 

According to Bevan Dufty, director of San Francisco’s Housing, Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE) program, housing homeless veterans is a high priority for the city. And the number of homeless veterans has decreased since last year, thanks in part to the opening of a permanent supportive housing facility called Veterans Commons.

Mary Willis

On Tuesday, San Francisco supervisors will consider legislation to close the city’s parks overnight. If passed, no one will be allowed in parks run by the city's recreation department between midnight and 5am.

The real value of a free haircut

Jul 23, 2013
Under CC license from Flickr user Mr T. in DC

About 3,000 homeless people live in Oakland. Their challenges include finding places to stay, food to eat, and something else that many people take for granted: self-care. Simple things like a shower or a haircut. If you don’t have a home, where do you go to clean up?  Sometimes, a sink in a public bathroom is the best you can find.

Laura Flynn

Nearly every city in the US has a Tenderloin. Here in San Francisco, it’s a neighborhood home to a dozen social service agencies, low-rent residential hotels, or SROs, and thousands of low-income – and-no-income – residents. Premature deaths from HIV/AIDS, heart disease, and complications from substance use and abuse mark the lives of many in the Tenderloin. It’s a part of the city known for open drug use. A place many people avoid and one where individual lives can be easily forgotten.

Imagine having nowhere to sleep, now, imagine that reality if you’re older, and maybe you suffer from illness or decreased mobility.

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.”

Flickr user Sterneck

Joseph Luna woke up this morning in a sleeping bag under the Harrison Street on-ramp to Highway 101. He sleeps here when he needs to get out of the rain.

Luna does not sleep past eight because he'll get rousted by police. His sleeping spot is near a five-way intersection, in back of a city tow lot. In his morning routine, he will get up, stack the cardboard and shove his stuff into a big black duffel bag, the only bag he owns.

Squatting with a cause

Aug 14, 2012

Just after midnight in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, two men smoke cigarettes outside the gate of an abandoned school. They’re waiting for the right moment to break in.

“We’re looking to gain entry to a long-vacant private commercial building that’s been vacant at least four years,” says Matt Crain. “Tonight what we’re going to do is just go in through the back. I’m going to pick a padlock that’s on a side gate of the place, and if that goes smoothly then we’ll proceed to the back and see if there’s an open door or an open window, and just proceed from there.”

Mariel Waloff

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.

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