By Jade Leonardo
At the time of the 2022 Point-in-Time-Homeless counts, 7,754 people were experiencing homelessness in San Francisco, which is 887 people for every 100,000 residents. In 2023 homelessness in San Francisco continues to be a hot button issue.
San Francisco mayor London Breed recently proposed a plan for welfare recipients to be required to be screened for substance abuse and receive treatment. The plan also allows for homeless encampments to be swept in the city if a person refuses shelter. On the ever present question of how to best solve the homelessness crisis in San Francisco, there is no lack of opinions being thrown around in the social and political spheres.
Perhaps one opinion that is unfortunately being overlooked, is that of those who are facing or have faced homelessness.
When asked to address the treatment of the homeless population during the Dreamforce 2023 conference in San Francisco, where people facing homelessness were forced to vacate the area during the conference, City College student Scott Wood stated that this was the “wrong way to behave towards people who are a large part of San Francisco’s population,” and who are homeless largely through “no fault of their own.” Wood also went on to say that there needs to be “more representation from people in that position.”
David Lowe, another City College student who has been taking classes here for years, commented that this behavior “kind of fits the city’s MO,” and that he “wasn’t really surprised.”
As someone who has faced poverty in many different ways, from my family seeking help from churches and food banks in order to stay in our home, to having no place to call home, to losing my father to complications due to substance abuse and homelessness, I feel like the answer to this is nowhere near as simple as a lot of people make it out to be.
To be clear, I do not believe that I have the answer to these issues either. I do however believe that if we are going to make forward movements towards helping people live the lives they deserve to live, we need to elevate their voices and give them a chance to make their opinions heard.