It’s really sad to see so many people desperate and poor, but we essentially told them to come here, that we would pay for services for them and also, feel free to commit any crimes you want. Ridiculous.
Even if SF was tough on homelessness, they would still come, because it's either that or death in freezing cold weather elsewhere.
Now what DOES happen often is someone is loudly talking or yelling to themselves, and if you look at them or get close to them then they may react to you. I just steer clear of the craziness. Maybe your friends got caught up in that?
The last time, I was waiting outside a bar/live music venue while my friend and the bartender were inside locking up after 2AM. I'm just standing there minding my business when a very dirty street guy, presumably homeless, walks up to me and demands I give him some money.
I tell him no, and he just starts yelling belligerently in my face deliberately being sloppy about it and spitting all over me. This went on for what felt like an eternity, turning into a staring contest with him just waiting for me to lose my cool and assault him. Eventually he just walked away cursing aloud about white people.
SF is a kind of a shithole, I have a bunch of firsthand experiences to back that up.
I still find little pieces of broken glass in my car from when a homeless person threw rocks through the windows of ~10 parked cars on La Playa by Judah @ Ocean Beach. Same guy was picking fights with pedestrians in the hours that led up to him breaking car windows. Good times!
I remember the day that assault was reported on the news. It made my friends and myself seriously question what the hell is going on the streets of our city.
It's common to prey on the weak and vulnerable. Why make it harder on yourself? Just get a job at that point.
I suspect it's because females tend to avoid physical confrontation like the plague and some men will stand up if someone gets in their face. But it's only a guess as to why it is the case.
But that's rather different, it's more about sport than crime. Half the time they'd become drinking buddies afterwards.
When desperate people are on the prowl for people to rob however, I don't believe it's typical for them to prefer tougher targets. My understanding is most thefts are opportunistic and unattended, which tells me there's obviously a preference for less resistance, not more.
It’s not bad everywhere. The Marina, Noe, Pac Heights, Cole Valley, Outer Sunset, and parts of Richmond districts all manage to keep their neighborhoods clean. The mission feels like a 3rd world country.
I’m democrat but I would most certainly vote in a hard line republican DA to take a stand. I’m done having my car broken into and literally shat on. I’m tired of seeing piles and piles of trash like we’re living in some kind of garbage mound. People just don’t care.
It wasn’t this bad even 3 years ago, but it’s certainly taken a turn for the worse. It’s untenable.
The premium I pay to live here is insane, yet the city elects to tolerate a totally unacceptable
Level of crime, drug use and general squalor. I don’t think we should lock people up for being drug addicts, but where do we draw the line between “locking people up for stupid reasons” and “literally do anything you want with no consequences”. No one here even calls the police for the blantanty criminal and disruptive behavior of mentally ill homeless people. The police won’t show up/do anything.
I’m a pretty liberal person, but honestly the conservative media has it right with the situation in San Francisco. We spend a crapload of money every year on programs to help these people, at the total expense of law abiding tax paying citizens. While I believe the government is well intentioned, enough is enough. Do I and my neighbors not have a right to live in a habitable city? I had out of town friends visit from overseas and they were appalled. They were accosted multiple times and were afraid to walk around. I don’t blame them. I would not recommend anyone to visit this city. Good bye sf, I won’t be back.
I've been kicked while riding my bike, I've had people come up and start screaming obscenities at me, I've been followed for multiple blocks by someone yelling at me, I've been threatened, I've witnessed people shooting up heroin and smoking crack in broad daylight dozens of times, I've seen a man pee himself in his wheelchair. The list goes on and on. Sure, you're going to see more intense concentrations of this stuff in the Mission and the Tenderloin, but, damn.
The sidewalks and streets are disgusting. The city just doesn't seem like it's actually governed. All the city supervisors seem to care about is blocking new housing because that's what their constituents want.
You see enough of this stuff and you just start to try and ignore it. But it eats at me. Seeing people every day enduring levels of despair that are completely depraved hurts the soul.
Yep! I stopped going to the office in the Mission in part because of this. And my job before that in SoMa I quit in part because I was stepping over homeless people on the sidewalk every damn day on my way to the office. It was just too depressing, and that place wasn't going to tolerate my working remote so I quit.
The SF bay area is pretty neat, but that city is a total disaster, way overrated and overpriced and the weather isn't even good compared to most of the nearby coastal communities or literally anywhere else on the peninsula.
What the article doesn't cover though is the silicon valley obsession with scale. A lot of us walk by the homeless either implicitly or explicitly thinking we are going to a job that is going to change the world. And that may be true.
But there's a different school of thought that the most effective social change is done locally--where you personally know the people and the issues. So I would encourage people who still live in San Francisco to get involved in local politics/charity.
(I say this as a former San Franciscan, 1st-12th grade + two startups).
The city is legitimately scary for many (maybe most) of its inhabitants, especially after sunset. I know plenty of women who absolutely will not walk nearly any distance alone at night. On the Muni the other day, I saw a man outside get stalked by a homeless guy who was physically threatening him. You regularly see people who you realize you need to watch out for. It starts to become a nervous tick.
We need to deal with this in a real way that is not just empathizing with their situation. We can't just say "Well, they're ill, so we have to let them be horrible and scare 99% of the population". That is essentially letting the inmates run the asylum.
I know that full, actual treatment is complex. A lot of them honestly don't want what's available to them and I don't blame them. But in the meantime, we have to do something to enforce the law.
It's so, so deeply crazy right now.
When I was a kid in San Francisco in the 80s and 90s, it was pretty much accepted wisdom that all homeless were mentally ill and were choosing to live on the streets. I don't think that's true anymore, although I don't have statistics. My experience though was that living there as an adult in 2010-2016, I saw a lot more families, a mom in the Powell Street station begging while helping her daughter with homework, or two moms digging through my trash on Precita Ave with their kids in tow. That sort of stuff.
I'm not saying at all that homeless should be allowed to terrorize the city. But I do think empathy is one of the steps (and maybe the only step that readers here are in complete control of executing themselves). Are you ready to pay to provide shelter and services for each of these homeless people? Are you ready to have a shelter in your own neighborhood? Does your local supervisor know that? I doubt I'm alone in that my own feelings of generosity are improved when know and care about someone.
Although, more in line with what you are saying about SF being deeply crazy, I agree and I moved away and I can't imagine moving back. But wherever you live, I'm encouraging people to do more to make that place as great as it can be. I live in NYC now, but basically follow the above advice, only more focused on over incarceration.
it's basically that decision that put a lot of mentally ill people on the street.
In fact, California public mental health funding per capita was higher in Reagan's last budget than the year before he took office.
I’ve seen many a post on here about people who’ve experienced this in SF. Hell, I have too. But nobody ever shows up to a town hall type meeting and expresses this. Nobody organizes protests for it. Nobody goes and volunteers to fix this problem.
Yes. Our city government is lawlessly incompetent and it shouldn’t be.
But if we don’t actually get out there and scream until there’s change, then what’s even the point of complaining?
Let’s fix this without them or get out there until they have to do something about it.
Let’s do _something_ about it
"Seattle Is Dying" (KOMO 4 News)
I could not recognize the city. We used to walk by night and the city left great memories.
Now I had to almost run from the pier to my hotel nearby. We went to a fast food in the night and it was the worst place I have been in.
At the same time, the guide of the tour we took mentioned rent prices so high that I thought I misunderstood what she was saying.
CA is #5. Not something to be proud of, but it could be worse.
Case in point : Mississippi has the lowest homelessness in the US.
Not as bad as the conservative media makes it out to seem but still bad.
Had my drink knocked out of my hand by a couple of guys,had to buy boots because of the human feces, saw smashed in car windows daily.
Im super tolerant but that felt like alot.
Also, not saying it isn't bad, and not saying we shouldn't do something (anything) to make things better, but you probably walked down one of the worst stretches (depending on which part of market street you went down).
The smash-and-grab situation alone makes L.A.s homeless look like samaritans.
I think it's a direct result of a complete and utter lack of real estate development, but the fact of the matter is people shit in the street here, regularly. People shoot up heroin openly here. Needles littered on the streets here is normal. People smoke meth and crack, openly.
If you don't want to see it, you can avoid it with a car, but i bike and take transit.
The tenderloin is drug dealers and junkies. 16th and Mission is mentally ill people. Haight is crustypunks. Besides that, there are more normal things like people in tents in parks and under the highways.
I've seen things more like this in places on the west coast, but i've never seen the type of open and welcome drug dependency except in this region. I definitely am supportive of giving addicts a way to get help or even use in a healthy, non-threatening setting that is safe and separated from the rest of us going about our lives, but that's not what's happening.
I know that stuff happens everywhere, but it's so far out in the open in SF, you can't avoid it.
Part of it also has to do with the topology of the city. Homeless people don't want to live on hills, but rich people do, so that creates pools of homeless camps in flat areas.
Stopped in at City Lights, bought a couple books, went for lunch, and walked through North Beach to the pier. Walked along Embarcadero to the BART station there and had a great (albeit short) layover there. I saw a few people who appeared to be homeless. No more than I see in Toronto or Hamilton—but I can’t speak to what kind of measure that is anymore.
And the stench. Nothing like the glorious smell of ocean breezes and human excrement in the morning!
And to think the Embarcadero is relatively clean by SF standards. The Tenderloin is where it gets real fun.
The second time I asked one of the guys trying to sell me coke why that was happening, he said it was really the only reason white people walk there.
The whole thing was very different from the super-liberal picture of SF I had in my head.
I just find much of the rhetoric makes it sound like the city is overrun and in shambles and that wasn't my experience. Of course, if I lived in those concentrated locales I might feel that way.
- Market St.
- Embarcadero & Washington St. intersection
- King St. (esp. around the CalTrain station)
- Pretty much all the BART stations within SF city limits
Those are the areas I'm in pretty frequently, at least.
San Fran doesn't care how terrible their city looks to tourists nor care for its people like NYC does? I don't get it ... uber super tech rich living in the most expensive houses in the US with human feces outside on their pavements or around the corner.
Whatever San Fran is doing and methodology it's following it doesnt seem to be working out for itself!
The way I see it, fundamentally, San Francisco views the homeless as part of it's people, many other places do not.
I guess that's now considered the charm of San Francisco. Disgusting!
People often say the same kinds of things about Toronto but the place is hardly overrun.
I just thought it would be a valuable single data point from a visitor’s perspective. No assumptions, just an experience.
This podcast has a pretty good discussion and explaination on the different causes of homelessness. The distinction between "working homeless" in cities where housing costs are skyrocketing and people with medical issues or addiction was interesting to hear talked through with nuance.
In fact, San Francisco has grown by 100K people in the last 10 years, and construction hasn't kept up. Costs have risen incredibly, while incomes of longstanding citizens in many cases have not.
This is simply a right-wing hit piece on the leftist movements against the war on drugs, gentrification, housing cost inflation, and mass incarceration.
You can't claim the city is wrong about lack of public spending unless you discuss the spending, and the challenges, realistically and with context.
These are really meant to be feel good pieces for the readers by triggering a sense of superiority. I say this as a native San Franciscan who moved to NYC and plans to stay here.
Some of these articles are less grim, for example this piece on Silicon Valley sock fashion was definitely read by many New Yorkers as reinforcing the idea that we have real style here (i.e. making socks your fashion calling card is like watching a little kid play dress up).
Equally ridiculous to me was the NYT covering a San Francisco high school debating what to do with a mural. Where is the impact to a New York reader? Zero.
Theoretically, the WSJ and NYT are national papers, but they do really have New York readers as their base. So for that reason, I never pay any attention to their take on anything bay area related.
Note that the article also doesn't discuss the trade-offs we routinely see when many of the policies it opposes aren't in place: higher (very expensive) incarceration rates, higher disease rates resulting in higher public health costs, etc.
Also note that as is so often the case, SF is still stuck in a middle ground between policies many believe (based on evidence elsewhere) will really work and save money on balance -- like housing and caring for people -- and the center/right's preferred solution of shoving everyone into expensive prisons as I mentioned above. Few people advocating comprehensive public health and treatment policies think the status quo is anywhere near enough; it's simply all politics is allowing them to do at present.
By what measure? From the outside it seems like San Francisco is mostly hardcore libertarian NIMBYs.
If you managed to identify the single cause of homelessness, you should be nominated for a Nobel Prize.
That's because the dominant faction of America’s “left”-er party is neoliberal centrist. The actual left would do more, but even in cities with a leftier reputation doesn't tend to have the power to.
It is estimated that 20–25% of homeless people, compared with 6% of the non-homeless, have severe mental illness.
Others estimate that up to one-third of the homeless suffer from mental illness.