The Chronicle is running a five-day series on the homeless problem, again. This time focusing on the “homeless island” at the intersections of South Van Ness, Mission, and 12th Streets, one block south of Van Ness and Market.

The City of San Francisco spends $200 million a year trying to combat the seemingly endless homeless problem which has plagued the city for decades. You wouldn’t know it by looking. The best estimates are that there are over 5,000 full-time homeless people in the city, but a one-day count in 2002 found a total of 8,600. Most are drug addicts, alcohol abusers, and/or mentally ill.

In fact, I recall that in 2002 we sent an envoy to New York to find out how they dealt with their homeless problem. Apparently, they never came back. Maybe the mob in New York had something to do with it and didn’t appreciate all the questions. Or perhaps San Franciscans are simply too soft to deal with the problem.

One popular view has it that the homeless problem is caused by a lack of jobs. I don’t agree. I think that it is our fears that make us so ineffective in dealing with the homeless, our fears that we might wind up homeless too if we lose our jobs. So we keep the services going. Well, in a half-assed sort of way anyway.

Maybe we should implement real services that are designed to get people off the streets for good. Like mandatory prison-style rehab, where you don’t get out until you’re clean. Or perhaps a couple of mental wards to deal with the mentally ill. Only when harsh fool-proof (or crackhead-proof) services are put in place will the problem go away. According to the article, homeless will admittedly keep fucking up if you let them, so the logical answer is to not let them.


  1. Visit this site where you can see exactly what the problem looks like to residents and visitors alike. San Francisco needs to clean up these people, put them in work camps, or consider soylent green.

    I am tired of the harrassment (I WORK for my money and will NOT give MORE to an addict just because they happen to ask), tired of the stares or resentment. Why can’t San Francisco clean up? New York did. I think it’s the pussy liberals.


    #1 by Jolene — December 5, 2003 @ 11:42 am

  2. If you think SF has a homeless problem because of liberals, you clearly have never been to NY. Read a book.

    #2 by Frank — July 18, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  3. I think homelessness is a terrible thing to happen to anyone, and in every city in the USA there is alot of it going on. Someone of the ones who do drugs, or alcohol or whaterever reason, do not always want help. But, they are poor souls, and Jesus loves all of us! It is so sad to see this going on, and some families too. The poor children!
    May God Bless All!

    #3 by Char Schreffler — October 23, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  4. I’ve been in SF for 2 years getting a degree. I’ve been bugged, harassed, and threatened by every single type of “creature” looming the streets. I am a compassionate man, but 90% of the homeless in my area are drug addicts that are where are in life because of there own choices, and I will not feel sorry for someone who chose drugs over their own well being. They display text book addict behavior, most of them being pathological liars, and no sense of reality, trespassing and harassing without even so much as batting an eyelash. Make no mistake, these people are not potheads or beer drinkers. They are almost always meth fiends or crack addicts, and the reasons the docile ones don’t attack others is simply because they are not healthy enough to engage someone who is healthy and able bodied. Nearly everyone struggles with substance abuse at least once in their life, and those that did not take the help offered should not have the right to demand support from those of us participating in the rat race to make a living. I respect all religions Char, but its hard to be compassionate when a homeless man threatens you with a knife simply because you have no change on you, and it WILL happen eventually.

    #4 by Alex — November 15, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

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