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Monday, December 10, 2007

Doh! Mathematically Clueless City Causes Homeless Attacks

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2007 at 6:18 AM

The stabbing of a 23 year-old woman by a homeless man in the Outer Sunset has got people thinking: could there be so many more homeless people wandering around the City now because we kicked them out of the park?

As we roust them out of their favorite hang-outs, do we have enough places to put them to avoid this kind of violent confrontation? Short answer: no. San Francisco has twice as many homeless people on "the street" as it does shelter beds.

These numbers are based on the City's own estimates: it just doesn't seem to've compared the two.

Let's do the math:

According to the city’s most recent “Homeless Count” there are approximately 2,771 homeless people in San Francisco currently on “the street” (The estimated total number of homeless in San Francisco is over 6,000 - but most of those, the city says, are already in programs).

According to Department of Human Services Spokeswoman Pam Tebo, the city currently has a homeless shelter capacity of 1,313 beds.

Which means (subtract column A from column B) that we have 1,458 more homeless people than places to put them. Oops. Even in a best case scenario, the city is simply not equipped to “solve” its homelessness problem. Which is fine, if you’re not actually trying to sweep the streets and the parks like we started doing.

The inevitable result of this major push on homelessness will be more transients wandering unfamiliar neighborhoods — and more potentially violent confrontations. Like coyotes and urban sprawl.

It may be an unintended consequence, but it’s not at all unforeseeable.

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Benjamin Wachs


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