Homelessness

Critics Warned the Largest Tax Increase in San Francisco History Would Be Ill-Spent. It's Now Funding $60,000 Tents for the Homeless.

San Francisco politicians are raising eyebrows at the high costs of an emergency program that provides secure camping sites to the city's homeless.

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When San Francisco voters were considering a 2018 ballot measure that would impose the largest tax increase in city history to fund homelessness services, critics warned that the initiative's spending plan was vague and unaccountable. Now, a chunk of that money is going to fund some very expensive tents.

On Wednesday, staff for the city's Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing went before the Board of Supervisors' Budget and Appropriations Committee to request $20 million over the next two fiscal years to continue operating six "safe sleeping" tent encampments.

This safe sleeping program was launched early in the pandemic as a way of getting people out of crowded shelters, and into open-air, socially distanced camping sites where the homeless had access to showers, meals, and around-the-clock security.

The total cost of the program in its first year was roughly $18.2 million for around 260 tents, which the San Francisco Chronicle notes is about $61,000 per tent per year or twice the median cost of an apartment in the city.

Those high costs, and city staff's proposal to continue funding what was supposed to be a temporary, pandemic-era program, raised eyebrows among supervisors at Wednesday's meeting.

The $20 million being requested for the program "seems like an exorbitant amount for something that we're trying to transition [away from] as quickly as possible," said Supervisor Ahsha Safai at the hearing. "When you factor in 260 beds at $15 million for year one, that's $57,000 per tent."

Gigi Whitley, a Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing staffer, told Safai that of the $18 million the city had spent on safe sleeping sites, about $1.2 million was for the showers, $3 million was for providing meals on-site, and $13 million was going to provide round-the-clock staffing and security.

That $13 million was needed for the city to be "good neighbors and good stewards," said Whitley, telling Safai that 24-hour staffing was "necessary so that someone doesn't leave the site and go into the neighborhood and maybe establish their tent there."

The $15 million the department was asking for over the next fiscal year reflected expected cost reductions, she said, citing assumed savings from streamlining the administration of the program and finding less expensive vendors to provide showers.

The existing safe sleeping sites are needed to absorb the people who the city is trying to move out of hotels, where they've been lodged during the pandemic. Currently, there's not enough shelter capacity in the city to house all the homeless currently in these hotels.

The entirety of the funding for the safe sleeping program comes from money raised by the controversial Proposition C, which voters passed in 2018. That initiative hiked San Francisco's already high business taxes by 33 percent with the goal of raising around $300 million per year to be spent on homelessness, supportive housing, and mental health services—almost double the $380 million the city was already spending.

One might think that a ballot initiative that taxed businesses to pay for homeless services would be popular in the ultra-liberal San Francisco. And at least with voters, it was. Proposition C passed with 60 percent of the vote.

(Whether the measure needed a two-thirds majority to pass was a major legal controversy that was only resolved in September of last year, when the California Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to the law.)

The ballot initiative attracted some vocal opposition from business leaders, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and many of the city's elected officials including Mayor London Breed, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco), and state Assemblymember David Chiu (D–San Francisco).

Some big sticking points for critics were the size of the tax increase included in Proposition C and the fact that it was a gross receipts tax, which taxes companies on their overall revenues regardless of how profitable they are. Tax policy wonks are generally pretty down on gross receipts taxes, arguing they raise prices and limit economic growth. States and cities (with some notable exceptions) have been transitioning away from using them.

Another big issue raised by critics was that the city was already doing a bad job effectively spending existing homelessness dollars, and Proposition C would only make that problem worse.

"Proposition C does not audit the money the City already spends. It does not include a detailed spending plan for the $300M in taxes it seeks to add, nor regular audits of that money, nor adequate public oversight over how it's spent," wrote Breed in a now-deleted Medium post. "Our homelessness spending has increased dramatically in recent years with no discernible improvement in conditions. Before we double the tax bill overnight, San Franciscans deserve accountability for the money they are already paying."

That criticism appears vindicated by the high costs of the safe sleeping program.

This isn't to say that the program provides no value to its beneficiaries, as the Chronicle reported in March:

A young man who lived at the site said it was still dramatically better than living on the street, even though his tent was battered by wind the night before. At the site he has food and security guards looking out for him, and he also knows that if he leaves his stuff will probably be safe.

Jennifer Friedenbach, the executive director of the city's Coalition on Homelessness, said the city made the right decision at the beginning of the pandemic to create the tent program as quickly as possible. She said many homeless people even prefer the sites to traditional shelters, as a tent gives them more privacy than a cot in a large room.

That said, having privacy and a secure place to leave your possessions are also benefits provided by traditional housing of the type that San Francisco makes incredibly difficult and expensive to build through excessive regulation.

Were the city more friendly to new development, odds are it would have far fewer people on the streets and dependent on an inefficient city bureaucracy for shelter.

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  1. Gotta call BS on that last sentence. Most homelessness has little to do with the actual cost of housing.

    (SF’s overregulation of housing sucks and getting rid of it would lower housing costs. It just wouldn’t result in “far fewer people on the streets.”)

    1. My thoughts exactly.

      Also, all of these “homeless friendly” policies make the cities that have them into destinations for the homeless. So they build one tent city at $61K per tent this year and next year they need to build two.

      The super rich, ultra-liberals are ruining San Francisco and that is sad because it is (was?) a great city.

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      3. It’s easy, and a bit lazy, to just say “the super rich, ultra liberals are ruining San Francisco…” It’s a lot more complex than that and it has as much to do with the poor, ultra-liberals and the upper-middle-class centrists. There’s a strange mingling of the NIMBY crowd and the super-progressive (“liberal” here means more centrist and “progressive” means left-wing, btw) poor/middle classes and the wealthier professionals in the single-family homes. The progressives want lots and lots of housing built, but all of it has to be 100% below-market priced with pricing/rent caps. An attempt to convert an old laundromat to multi-family housing with roughly 20% below-market units was killed by the progressives. Whereas, laws designed to making denser housing legal on major streets in the city’s single-family housing areas, like the Outer Sunset, was killed by centrists and conservatives.

        Studies on how to fix the housing problem are also mixed. If the city builds like crazy, it wouldn’t fix the the issue, despite what freshman-level economics might say, because demand outstrips supply by too much. All new housing, if not regulated, would be for the richest only. There needs to be a mix of unregulated housing and some, small percentage of below-market, regulated housing. But with the left-wing progressives partnering with the centrist/conservative NIMBY’s, that’ll never happen.

    2. I lived in San Francisco for about ten years, 76-86. There was a nearby Episcopalian church feeding the homeless at 6am. They’d start lining up hours before, shitting and pissing on doorsteps, or really anywhere. Some guy with a tire shop got tired of replacing big plate glass windows they’d scratch and break out of sheer boredom and nastiness, and organized a community group. We asked the priest running the show to feed them a little later. His response was to flood our next meeting with violent homeless bums and harangue them with a bullhorn to break up our meeting.

      The Examiner did an expose of him. Turned out the beater he drove work was strictly for show. He lived in the Marina, wife had a high-paying job, they owned a couple of Mercedes, and he had done other similar press-release look-good charades before.

      Around that time, SF was paying for nice homeless shelters for these bums, and they complained to the papers that they deserved better, that they were human beings, that shelters were too degrading, and they all deserved individual houses. Other remarks made it clear to anyone who could read that they didn’t want jobs, or shelters, or even houses. They liked living on the streets, they liked getting free money, free food, free everything, and they wanted more.

      I see nothing has changed.

      1. Even subtracting for $17.2 million in ancillary services and facilities it comes to over $3,000 per tent. Who has the tent concession?

      2. > nice homeless shelters

        you are out of touch with reality if you think anything called a fucking “shelter” could be “nice”

        1. Was there some sort of point in that claim?

        2. Everything is nice compared to some alternatives, and awful compared to others. I suspect the weather makes that comparison a little more variable than you are capable of imagining.

        3. Come check out our tent encampment for the homeless it is nicer than a lot of places here

        4. Can I get one with a shower and composting toilet, plz?

    3. Correct. Homelessness is primarily due to mental illness and alcohol / drug addiction. If the government wanted to end homelessness they would enforce laws against camping / drinking / pooping / doing drugs on the street and offer choice of treatment or jail for repeat violators.

      1. Government doesn’t need to offer anything! Just end the quagmire that is the drug war and see a large portion of this problem work its way out.

        1. Not so long as we have lefties like you and Breed rewarding people to sit around and get high; the cost of the drugs is irrelevant.

          1. Did you hear that at your loser 12 step meeting?

            1. asshole flag

            2. You must get yours while you’re at Mormon services.

        2. Except the drug of choice for many (if not most) of these homeless is cheap booze. $2 cans of beer and box wine from the gas station. They have neither the means or willpower to save up even $20 for anything stronger. This is one situation in which the drug war cannot reasonably be blamed.

        3. I think the government has a responsibility to enforce laws against people directly harming other people. The homeless do harm the rest of society – theft, public nuisances, leaving drug needles in the street etc.

    4. LA has over 300,000 illegal Mexican immigrants, who have an average of 6 years education, speak only Spanish when they arrive, and have to do almost everything out of sight of the law. They make under the counter wages, often below minimum wage.
      Look at the homeless in LA. They aren’t Mexican. It isn’t the cost of housing.

      1. Massive over-simplication. This is also a false comparison. Perhaps you need a geographical lesson?

        1. Perhaps you could offer a corrective?

          1. Wow, I actually agree with you this time. Don’t let it happen again!

            1. Fuck off, slaver.

              1. Oh give him that one. He has so little. Piss a little mercy on him.

        2. Cost of housing has almost nothing to do with homelessness. The vast majority of homeless are either mentally ill or addicted to drugs or alcohol – and refuse treatment.

        3. The point is it’s possible to earn a living and pay for housing the US for any healthy person who wants to.

          1. This is an oversimplification.

            If you go by dollars alone, yes. But the economic benefits one gains from an established family and social network have significant value to the poor. Your comment implies that one has to be willing to relocate to where housing is cheapest but that might actually place someone at an overall disadvantage if they’re forced to leave supportive family and friends.

            And, if you’re going to kick an addiction, dumping your supportive social connections is probably a bad way to start.

    5. The walled city of Kowloon is a great example of what poor desperate people can build without government interfence. So I don’t think it nearly as bullshit as you think it is.

    6. ^This.

      A definable percentage of the homeless are there for reasons not connected to housing costs. What they require is mental health assistance, not a tent.

  2. No amount of market rate development is going to lower prices enough in SF to help the homeless afford housing. It’s good policy for the city in general, but would have almost no impact on this problem.

    Unless you’re supporting the demand that all development include low-income units in which case you’re proposing to lower the market rate by increasing the market rate.

    1. Homelessness is due to mental illness and drug addiction. Period. If cost of housing was the real issue they would move somewhere more affordable – which is pretty much anywhere in the US outside of SF.

      1. “Homelessness is due to mental illness and drug addiction. Period.”

        Simply not true. Here in NE TN we get spillover from Asheville, and a large portion of the ‘homeless’ in our area are young vagabonds. Over the last few years our church has hosted a a few Thanksgiving feeds when the downtown shelters were closed because they didn’t have the staffing.

        We would bus groups up from downtown, feed them, then bring them back. While there were clearly people with mental issues, and a couple actual down on their luck types most of them were young, physically healthy, and well dressed/well equipped with brand name outdoor kit – Pr’ana, Royal Robbins, Patagonia (I make good money but still wont buy their grossly overpriced shit!) not to mention the ubiquitous North Face or Columbia, which I wouldn’t even count.

        It’s also readily apparent just how much they talk and network among themselves. So I have little doubt that some of those people, upon hearing of the largess available somewhere interesting like S.F., will head in that direction.

        1. SF has three main groups of homeless:
          1) Poor people forced out of houses. We have lots of these. But we also spend huge sums of money to provide them with options, and largely these folks take those options and get off the streets.
          2) Vagabonds. These are the youth you’re talking about. They largely hange out near Hippy Hollow in Golden Gate Park and nearby Haight Ashbury area.
          3) The mentally ill/addicts. These folks start out as one or the other but quickly end up being both mentally ill and addicted. These are the folks deficating in the streets. They’re on our streets because a particular Republican governor worked to cut huge sums of money from the public mental health system and dumped them out onto the streets, where they continue to live.

          For the “vagabond” crowd, SF has lots of drugs, lots of services for the homeless, and mild weather that makes living outside low risk.

    2. If we had guaranteed (Universal, funded with taxes) healthcare in this country, including mental healthcare, and anyone could walk into a mental healthcare clinic (or be 5150’d) and get there head straight, there’d be wayyyyyy fewer people living on the streets for the (barely existing anymore) middle class and above to complain about and occasionally be violent towards.

      Why exactly should the profit motive and greed control healthcare when it leads to such terrible externalities?

      1. “If we had guaranteed (Universal, funded with taxes) healthcare in this country, including mental healthcare, and anyone could walk into a mental healthcare clinic (or be 5150’d) and get there head straight, there’d be wayyyyyy fewer people living on the streets for the (barely existing anymore) middle class and above to complain about and occasionally be violent towards…”
        If we had more imbecilic lefty shits like you, we make the medical care in the US as pathetic as it is in England, and bankrupt the country!

        “Why exactly should the profit motive and greed control healthcare when it leads to such terrible externalities?”
        First, your claims that the profit motive leads to ‘this’ is poisoning the well, so we’ll assume you’re too stupid to know that, or hoping someone here is.
        Secondly, we reward good medical care with profits for the same reason we do so for food production; we get lots of it and of very good quality,
        Thirdly, fuck off, slaver.

      2. The Government Funded Motive leads to $60,000 tents, you fvckin Trotskyist moron. And the SEIU rolls swelling with more dues paying party operatives. And one or two connected people getting filthy rich ripping defrauding the taxpayer. Idiot.

        1. Missing from the article was a cost/benefit analysis of whether that $60K was more or less expensive than other options. It was simply presented as “bad” because the number sounds big.

          For example, homeless encampments are often filthy and crowded with little to no hygiene. In the midst of a pandemic that has killed over 600K Americans so far, $60K per tent which includes food and services to keep the homeless safe and healthy may have saved lives–including those living in houses. (I thought it was odd the OP didn’t get into the benefits this approach might have during a deadly pandemic. Bad faith wouldn’t be out of place for a standard Reason article.)

      3. “Why exactly should the profit motive and greed control healthcare when it leads to such terrible externalities?”

        Because there is no industry so screwed up that the US federal government couldn’t make it worse. The VA was so f’d up for a while that it was considered to be a big deal when they were forced to allow veterans to choose a private provider if they couldn’t get an appointment within 60 days (the fact that our often takes over 60 days to get an appointment seems absurd to me). Medicare pays barely more than the marginal cost of care for many services, which then forces providers to charge the privately insured more to cover their fixed costs. In addition, Medicare mandates obscenely detailed and complicated bills, which forces providers to hire highly skilled healthcare billing professionals who have to take annual classes to stay up with all the changes. Private insurance ultimately follows Medicare’s lead in billing, resulting in errors and enormous overhead expense. Maybe other governments are more competent and can manage something as complicated as healthcare, but care that the US government already manages does not inspire confidence that it would improve care or reduce expense.

        In fact, the mental health crisis we have today is largely driven by incompetent government. In the mid-20th century, we had an extensive network of government run facilities for people who couldn’t take care of themselves. However, when abuse was discovered at some of them, the decision was made to close the facilities, rather than figure out a way to stop the abuse. No realistic plans were made for the residents, so they were largely dumped onto the streets, if they didn’t have family who could pay the enormous cost to find a private facility for them.

        It would be great if we had a government competent enough that it could take over healthcare, and as a result, costs would go down, quality would improve, and innovation would be maintained. One of the big reasons I am a libertarian is the pile of evidence that we do not have such a government and nobody has a realistic proposal for how to reform the bureaucracy to get one. As a result, I mostly want the government to stay the heck out of the way of the people who actually have the competence to solve the problem.

      4. Take a look: “Utopian Blather As Solution”

        Where to even fucking start? How about
        “You seem to think the only thing preventing these people from ‘getting their heads straight’ is easy access to some government Drs’ office doors to walk through. Are you REALLY saying “If we just had enough government-funded “clinics” and “treatment centers” for these unfortunates, they could all be turned into productive and obedient units of State labor.”???

        Please note that the real-world equivalents of the “clinics” and “treatment centers” you envisage always have razor wire-topped fences around them, and observation towers with gun mounts.

        Perhaps the second-stupidest thing in your little screed is misattributing the direction of violence in the “street bums/regular folks” dichotomy. In your imaginary world, there are suburbanites and richies who…what? Have a sport where they drive out of their well-kept neighborhoods for the reward of committing violence against homeless people?? Are you connected to reality enough to even recognize how stupid that is?

    3. That’s right a greater supply of something increases the cost all around.
      It sound counter intuitive, but look at education, a greater supply of useless retarded teachers and administrators has greatly increased the cost.
      Granted this phenomena collapses once you factor out government

      1. +1, s’trewth!!

  3. Come on Christian, journalism 101; who owns the companies providing the services?
    Follow the money.

    1. My thoughts as well. There is some serious grifting going on here. Who’s feeding at the trough?

      1. Looks like all the money is going to security.

        Off duty cops?

        1. Training for the next gen brown shirts.

        2. SEIU

      2. It actually doesn’t take long to find out.

        https://www.urban-alchemy.us/village

        It seems they also have an LA branch – quel surprise. It’s a non-profit whose founder is the same as or has the same name as the founder of other non-profits like Girls 2000 & Hunters Point Family. A quick search also seems to indicate that this person keeps a rather low digital profile.

        1. It would be interesting to read their fine print. Too bad it’s crowded out by huge, huge font on their sloganeering

      3. Karnak senses the question….
        “Who contributes to the Democratic Party?”

    2. Right? The number that jumped out at me was the staffing and security cost. For 6 camps and 260 “units” I can’t imagine staffing for such basic things to exceed 50 people. The trouble with that assumption is that even at 100 staffers it’s still 100k salary average to basically just make sure people have tents and don’t venture into the suburbs. A motel with that many units doesn’t require that much staff and is expected to provide far more services. There is an obvious grift going on here

    3. “Follow the money”

      That sort of behavior is simply gauche when everyone already knows that it is the right sorts of people (ie. no icky rethuglicans) involved.

      1. Or, just puttin’ it out there, “the recently-graduated poli-sci major children of well-connected Democrats”?

        Providing jobs that are free of profit, work and meritocracy, but that provide plenty of money and smug virtue signaling seems like a perfect use of taxpayer money in San Fran.

  4. So Mayor Breed says we need accountability, then deletes his post. The left continues to eat itself.

  5. The picture of the tent city, (with the impressive fountain in the background and the even more impressive building further in the background), what part of San Francisco is that?

        1. Thank you Mike P.

  6. Were the city more friendly to new development, odds are it would have far fewer people on the streets and dependent on an inefficient city bureaucracy for shelter.

    Bingo. You just figured out why the city is never going to be more friendly to new development. Why would you want the private sector to provide solutions to problems when you get a big fat paycheck for fucking things up?

    1. Or, and I’m just spittballing here…

      Maybe, just maybe, the fucking voters voted for a city hall that wouldn’t increase density in the outer, single-family neighborhoods?

      Why reach for conspiracy when there’s a far simpler explanation?

  7. Our homelessness spending has increased dramatically in recent years with no discernible improvement in conditions.

    What you subsidize, you get more of.

    …which taxes companies on their overall revenues…

    What you tax, you get less of.

  8. Can someone go over to Sullum’s latest rant and say Fuck You Jacob on my behalf? Thanks in advance.

    1. Ditto for me

    2. Add mine to the list!

  9. “which the San Francisco Chronicle notes is about $61,000 per tent per year or twice the median cost of an apartment in the city.”

    So, glamping?

    1. “twice the median cost of an apartment”

      Yeah, but MUCH easier to clean vomit and shit out of a tent. Use your head Britches.

  10. Perhaps this is another example of progressive disdain for (or ignorance of) basic economics, and even “money”. Truly woke activists, aka socialists and critical theory communalists, are never going think about costs and “paying” for delusions.

    1. Did mamma drop you on your head when you were little? Perhaps so, because you’ve clearly got damaged.

      1. Did daddy drop you? You’re clearly full of shit, even though you’ve so far just griped about others.
        Put up, or STFU, asshole.

  11. San Francisco residents want this. What is there to discuss?

    1. Well, no, not really. But what they do want leads to this. People in general aren’t terribly good at thinking things through and considering the unintentional impacts of their choices.

      For example, the rent control system they built in SF had the unintended result of an estimated 20% reduction in rental units as landlords pulled units off the market or converted them to condos. (over 60% of residents in SF rent.)

  12. States and cities (with some notable exceptions) have been transitioning away from using them.

    *shrug*

    Most people had been transitioning away from racism and eugenics over the last 100 years, but some things go back in fashion.

    1. If we could just stop practicing DYSgenics then eugenics would look less attractive.

  13. Moving from the projects to a rent-controlled apartment constitutes London Breed’s major life accomplishment. She has never had a job where productivity has an effect on your income, or, for that matter, employment, having started slopping at the public trough from day one.
    For reasons which are likely a result of her “education” (political science-public service) and her lack of experience in anything like business.
    She is both sufficiently stupid and ignorant enough to assume the increase in the number of bums arriving in San Fran can be lowered by rewarding them more to come here; deer in the headlights confusion.
    I am proud to state that there is not one elected official in SF who ever got ONE of my votes.

    1. Oh, for an edit feature:

      For reasons which are likely a result of her “education” (political science-public service) and her lack of experience in anything like business, she is both sufficiently stupid and ignorant enough to assume the increase in the number of bums arriving in San Fran can be lowered by rewarding them more to come here; deer in the headlights confusion…

  14. Another headlie. Do the math, the actual amount of money going for then tents is 3076.92 each (260 ‘beds’ for $800,000). Still a lot, but don’t blame the tent costs for the exorbitant numbers – blame the contractors and service providers that are charging an arm and a leg. This article is click-bait and highly misleading.

    1. “…blame the contractors and service providers that are charging an arm and a leg…”

      Got some cites for those claims, lefty shit? Put up or STFU

      1. Perfectly plausible for certain political persuasions of contractors and service providers. For a cite, see: Chicago, Daley Machine.

    2. No, the article is not misleading for once. It quotes an elected official balking at the plan, and makes it clear the $60,000 includes round the clock babysitting

      1. Stupid is really living up to their handle.

    3. Uh, what?

      It is the contractors’ and service providers’ job to charge an arm and a leg! That is their business.

      The problem is, the government is paying them to do so.

  15. OK, we have The Glibertine Party and StupidNet showing up to propose brain-damaged ‘solutions’, and when called on their bullshit, they seem to disappear!
    Perhaps they hoped their steaming piles of lefty shit would not get critiqued? Perhaps they are both stupid enough to be confused by the responses they got to answer?
    Both?

    1. Or the shelter where they live turns off the “free” Wi-Fi at 8 PM.

      1. Would not be surprising.

  16. The solution for homelessness is to give them homes.

    Hahaha

    1. Rob wins the Internet for today!

    2. Well, yes, actually. That will solve the problem of not having a house 100% of the time.

      But I’m guessing by “homelessness” you meant something more than just not having a house. I’m guessing you meant mental illness and addiction and the other conditions that lead to the sort of homelessness that often makes the news.

      So, what would a “libertarian” recommend as a solution for a group of people who are mental ill, incapable of self-care, and have no money or means to make money? That’s the rub. The progressives want to give them houses and food and security, the liberals want to give them health care, and the conservatives would imprison them for wasting police time–which is just another form of housing with food and security. What woud the libertarian solution be?

      1. Prison.

        1. No access to drugs
        2. Learn an employable skill
        3. Rapidly weed out the homeless tourists and cheerleaders
        4. Cleans up civilized society

        What’s the downside?

  17. There is an obvious 3 step solution to the SF homeless problem.
    1). Build old fashioned low cost dorms with small individual rooms, common bathrooms and showers, common kitchens, and supervision,
    2) Make sleeping on the street, in parks, etc. Illegal, and
    3) Watch and use the rehab solution in the YouTube documentary “Seattle is Dying”.

    1. Which is what most civilized countries do.

    2. Except that too much evidence shows that “the homeless” include many different people, with many different issues. To over-simplify, there are three overlapping groups:
      1. Functional people who got bumped off the self-sustaining ladder. With assistance, many of these people can get their shit back together and support themselves.
      2. Dysfunctional people, mostly with mental and/or substance problems. Some of them might do OK in voluntary free housing, but many would not–and they make life hell for others (and then the others want out of those programs).
      3. Anti-functional people who could support themselves, but choose not to. Again, some might tolerate the structured life of institutional housing, but many would not.

      So if we make sleeping out illegal, then we have to have a subset of housing that is forced on people, aka prison (or maybe metal institutions).

      1. Group 1 people would be most helped by this solution, as the concept is to stop the downward spiral and help people get back on their feet before they enter group 2.
        Group 2 people will need long term or permanent aid. This system can either function as that or help them get into systems that can provide it.
        Group 3 people will turn their lives around when they choose to. This provides a floor to push up on before they enter group 2.

        It’s not perfect, but it’s the best solution I’ve ever heard. In fact, every actual solution I’ve ever heard is some variant.

        1. It is what most civilized countries do.

          1. “It is what most civilized countries do.”

            What the French do in Paris to keep the burning cars in one neighborhood?
            Or did you have another example?

        2. Except that in some locations, for most people the housing solution will need to involuntary. I admit that I feel conflicted about that, since whenever the state starts locking people up for their own good, we have crossed a red line.

          I feel less conflicted about group 3. Pass and enforce the anti-“camping” law, offer them the aid option, and for those that decline, invite them elsewhere.

          1. That #3 is an “option” for these people is the real problem. Many of them have romanticized “being on the street”, lots of gritty punk/folk songs about it, bad poetry, etc. (There is a throughline from the Beats (Ferlinghetti, Ginsburg, Kerouac, et. al.) through the hippies and now the smug noblesse of ‘resistance’.)

            No need to make anything about that “choice” easy. Fuck ’em. These are largely people who have never had to face consequences for their life choices, the wastrel children of the upper middle-class. A few non-fatal (or fatal, *shrug*) unpleasantries resulting from non-participation in productive society might be a useful corrective, eh?

          2. Don’t feel too conflicted about this. I used to but I’ve gotten over it.

            The pattern for those without involuntary mental health care is to end up with involuntary prison care, only they do a lot of damage over the years it takes to finally get placed in prison. And, in prison, they don’t get the mental health care they need.

            In SF, a person will get met by emergency services repeatedly every year as they spiral into mental illness and self-medicated drug abuse. They’ll consume huge amounts of emergency care repeatedly. Then, they’ll accidentally hit someone or hurt someone and get arrested and released. This will go on for a while until they finally do something that makes it possible to jail them. All the while, they’re an economic drain on their community. If we spend the money up front to hospitalize them, we address both problems at the same time–they get care and they stop harrassing their neighbors and consuming resources.

            And for any of the homeless that want to leave homelessness, there should be programs to help before they, too, start to spiral into mental illness.

    3. Seattle is dying was a great video.
      I was struck by the misplaced compassion of letting them take drugs in the streets.
      These people were clearly suffering.
      Letting them stagger and repeatedly fall in the street due to drug intoxication was a bad outcome
      And awful for the business owners and citizens living there.

  18. Eventually the people will just stop voting in new taxes, and then the city will be screwed. Unlike the Federal government, it’s not allowed to print money or run deficits. Tourism is already drying up because of the homeless, so revenues will plummet.

    But not this year. Give them another five years. Then we will have Detroit II.

    Remember folks, this is the city where Gavin Newsom was the RIGHT WING candidate for mayor.

    1. Go to Google Maps and take a virtual tour of the east side of Detroit. If you haven’t seen it before, you’ll be shocked.

    2. Tourism in SF co-existed with homelessness for decades. It isn’t and wasn’t drying up. Homelessness is largely grating on the wealthier professionals who live here and come from places where homelessness is rare.

      The solution is for the government to re-open mental health hospitals and start moving the worst cases into managed care.

  19. “The total cost of the program in its first year was roughly $18.2 million for around 260 tents, which the San Francisco Chronicle notes is about $61,000 per tent per year…”

    San Francisco is bad at math then (not surprisingly).
    18.2M divided by 260 = 70,000.

    1. They could have been subtracting out other expenses first that would be incorrect to include, like advertising or stuff for other locations. The fact that it’s less, but not hugely less, hints to me that we aren’t seeing the entire division of costs.

    2. Math is patriarchal racist oppression.


  20. 24-hour staffing was “necessary so that someone doesn’t leave the site and go into the neighborhood and maybe establish their tent there.”

    So, it’s a prison?

    1. That’s her way of saying that they don’t want th bums coming into the nicer parts of town and shitting on their sidewalks asking for change.

      1. Yeah if you’ve got some extra change and want to take the kids out for shits and giggles you can go to bumville.

    2. I can’t blame you for not realizing this since the OP pretty much ignored it… but this was in the midst of the pandemic where everyone was supposed to self-isolate in order to reduce the spread of a deadly, highly trasmittable disease. The “$60K” tents aren’t meant to be a permanent thing; they were a pandemic response.

  21. The homeless infestation has been going on for over 30 years now. How about getting them off the street? Find some other city to inhabit other than San Francisco.

    1. Some of them don’t inhabit San Francisco, they just come in monthly on the bus to get free money. SF is too much of a shithole for them.

      -jcr

  22. As PJ O’Rourke once said, giving money to governments is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. OF COURSE they’re wasting the money.

    -jcr

  23. The real story is finding out where the money is actually going. Someone is getting rich.

    1. Most likely the contractors providing security and other staffing who then give kickbacks to the people awarding the contracts.

      1. Usually not so crude:
        A district supervisor requires ‘remedial funds’ in order to vote for it, which funds tend to pay for a ‘neighborhood house’, the employees of such tend to be those ‘community volunteers’ working on the supervisor’s political campaigns.
        Kick-backs are for amateurs:
        “Disgraced Ex-Building Inspector Allegedly Approved Shady, Ridiculously Unsafe Permits All Over San Francisco”
        https://community99.com/disgraced-ex-building-inspector-allegedly-approved-shady-ridiculously-unsafe-permits-all-over-san-francisco/

  24. No offense, but why should I care if SF is a poorly run shithole that bleeds money out of its ass?

    Seems like a non-issue to me.

    1. I think it’s meant to stoke conservative rage at “the lib-ruhls!”

  25. SF’s overregulation of housing sucks and getting rid of it would lower housing costs celotehpraja

    1. SF’s orverregulation of housing sucks. Yes.
      Getting rid of it would *not* (by itself) lower housing costs.

      The market is too skewed for simplistic supply/demand curve solutions. The city needs to keep lower-income residents for its economic success and eliminating housing regulations would result in a market with too little housing and zero housing for anyone making less than $100K per year.

      $15/hr minimum wage times 2080 = $31,200 year gross.
      The average studio appartment in SF rents for around $2K/mo.
      The estimated unmet demand for housing per year is around 50,000 units (last I read about two years ago, pre-pandemic.)

      Also, the city’s permitting department is so non-functional that removing the regulations would likely do little to advance construction. (which, IMHO, is where the real anger should be directed.)

  26. Nice effort dear with such an informative post.

  27. “The existing safe sleeping sites are needed to absorb the people who the city is trying to move out of hotels,”

    It will be a long before I stay in a hotel in SF .

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  29. The real story is finding out where the money is actually going. Someone is getting rich. shayarihd

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  31. “necessary so that someone doesn’t leave the site and go into the neighborhood and maybe establish their tent there.”

    The City of San Francisco is running a homeless prison system — a very *expensive* and *wasteful* system.

    1. Well, there are costs involved with making your prison system look like compassionate babysitting.

  32. Those must be some really nice tents! ONLY San Fran could pull this one off…

    Hey San Francisco… YOU’RE CHUMPS!

  33. The title of the article is misleading. I’ve lived in San Francisco and now in the nearby suburbs. The city is getting much worse, and I avoid it as much as possible.

    It’s Now Funding $60,000 Tents for the Homeless. Very misleading. It’s an expensive city and most can’t afford to have a home there. Build homeless housing in a cheaper part of the state and don’t let people take over the streets. The sidewalks should not be allowed to have tents on them so the people that pay for everything have to walk in the gutter filled with needles and human waste.

    Nobody likes seeing the homeless. Nobody says “You know what this city needs to make it better? More homeless” Everybody wants them elsewhere (except the homeless). San Francisco spends so much money on homelessness. If you don’t want pigeons around don’t feed them.

  34. So what is San Francisco supposed to do with the homeless: Lock them up?

    1. Well, in short, sorta yes?

      The mentally ill homeless eventually end up in prison when they get violent. That’s the current pattern. Maybe commit them to a mental institution before they hurt themselves and others. They’re on the public dime either way–pick the way that does the least amount of damage to the patients and the community.

  35. “th city’s homeless”? They are only”the city’s” because “the city” has adopted them.

    When unwanted stray cats come round my property I simply refuse to feed or shelter them. They, being smarter than these homeless, simply move along to find greener pastures. The problemis self-tending.

    But $60K for TENT and a patch to plop it onto? What ARE those guys smoking? No I mean the idiotic city dweebs that are working hard at disappearing the tax dollars of their constituients.

    1. The homeless can exist in the city without the city going out of its way to feed them. Ignoring for the moment that dude called “Christ” and his followers who feel like helping people is their duty, there are many, many sources of food in cities this size that even the laziest or highest person can still feed themselves.

      If you think the tents cost $60k, you didn’t read the whole article.
      If you didn’t know this was a COVID response to keep the homeless from dying and spreading the disease to the general population, you could be forgiven because the OP glossed over that inconvenient fact.

  36. Yes, they said but it’s happening or not.

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