The mayor and others are now admitting what the grand jury reported - that a majority of those on the streets are not homeless. The head of the city's homeless program, Dariush Kayhan, estimates that 50 to 75 percent of street people live in supportive housing.
"We just warehouse addicts," said the grand jury's Stuart Smith. "Granted, it is a nicer place for them, but it doesn't address the problem."
But go ahead and keep giving money to the shift workers at the corner of your daily commute. I've been watching the 5:00 shift change in action in this pirate town, and taking pictures. Regular as clockwork, these homeless know how to show up for a panhandling job, quickly disappear when a cop car shows up in the queue at the light, and re-emerge after another cycle or two of changes.
One middle-aged lady has taken on a new tactic of standing in the street, dangerously close to the traffic as it turns the corner. You're looking left to check traffic and she stands very close to your right. You're not watching out for her, you're monitoring oncoming traffic. Turn the wheel too hard as she teeters with her sign, and voila! Lottery winner!
So, what has prompted this amazing self-examination of homelessness issues by the Grand Jury in SF?
But, they ask, can't someone stop the panhandling? And, given all the programs and services, is it unreasonable to ask those who are being given supportive housing to start making some effort to be self-sufficient?
They sound like a bunch of heartless Republicans, don't they? Which reminds me that I need to get a pic of the popular bumper sticker around here: "Better a bleeding heart than none at all."
Panhandling. It's harshing their mellow, at long last. The article goes on to state that most SF residents don't begrudge spending the $186 million annually to house them, they just want value for their money. And accountability. From someone. They look around and, seeing no Conservatives remaining to vilify, finally turn their frustration on the dog that has bitten their generous hand. Imagine that.
You have to love their fresh and innocent dismay at the outcome, and their totally unselfconscious recitation of the problem.
The grand jury members say they were told that "expectations were unnecessarily low for supportive housing patrons" and that at present the measure of success is whether or not residents stay in the housing. Not surprisingly, over 90 percent do. But how many of them are panhandling every afternoon? (emphasis mine.)
As I've stated in other posts that I'm too lazy/sick to link here, (oh, alright: here and here) the solutions will be costly as an after-market fix of the original programs, but it won't mean that anyone will lose their sweet, secure social-services job. Looks like it'll be even more placement for the newly undereducated Masters in Sociology grads who think they know everything.
Everything except how the real world works.
Update: The Poor. A Bigger Problem than You Know...