San Francisco Homelessness Rises 17% After City Spends $300 Million Annually to Solve Problem

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Posted: May 18, 2019 10:46 AM
San Francisco Homelessness Rises 17% After City Spends $300 Million Annually to Solve Problem

Source: (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that homelessness in the Golden City has risen by 17% since 2017 as more and more people live in their vehicles and as the city spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer money in an attempt to solve the problem. 

The report released Thursday shows that studies "indicate at least 1,153 more homeless people are in the streets compared with two years ago, when the federal tally set the total number at 6,858." The number, 8,011, was determined using federal guidelines. According to the paper, this number is actually most likely much lower than the city's own estimation set to be released in July which uses different standards for homelessness. 

Accordingly, "The number of people living in cars, RVs and other vehicles has risen by 45% since the last one-night count was taken two years ago." 

“I’m really disappointed in these numbers,” said Jeff Kositsky, head of the city Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing told the Chronicle. “I can make no excuses. These numbers are bad, and we have to own that.

San Francisco holds the most homeless people in the state of California, but overall California has an astonishing 24% of the nation's homeless population. 

San Francisco Mayor Breed says the answer to the problem, despite spending $300 million each year, is simply more spending. The somewhat recently elected mayor is calling for help from regional and federal resources. "We need more resources from the federal and state governments for housing, period, and we need to build housing faster. S.F. can’t do it alone," she told the paper. 

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“There’s not just one thing that’s going to fix this,” she added. “I know this count will discourage a lot of people, but it’s important to remember where we were last year. Last year you saw a lot of big tent camps — like at 13th Street, and now we have a beautiful Navigation Center (shelter) there. We’ve helped 1,200 people out of homelessness since I came into office. We have made progress.”