Student Opinion: San Francisco’s Homeless Population Remains Concerning

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By Michelle Moreno Lira

Hundreds of people have moved to California throughout the years in search of greater opportunities and a different lifestyle. This year, we hit a new record as California’s resident rate dropped as more people left California for various reasons––one of the most prominent being high living expenses. 

Places such as San Francisco and Los Angeles have become overwhelmingly expensive, and housing units aren’t as affordable as they used to be. The pandemic prevented many people from moving to California. A lack of financial stability and fewer affordable housing opportunities are affecting those moving in and current residents. 

It’s essential for California officials, especially city officials in overpopulated areas, to establish affordable housing in desperately needed communities. Since homelessness is easier to achieve than affordable housing, officials need to establish accessible housing and open it to underserved communities. 

Many people might believe homeless individuals chose to become homeless or don’t try to find a stable living condition. In reality, homeless people don’t have enough financial support from their government and city officials to find affordable housing or job opportunities. Many setbacks can place a person on the streets; former prisoners have harder times incorporating normal life, along with war veterans that don’t get enough mental health support to achieve a normal life. 

Approximately 135,600 people left California, and the population rose 0.05 percent compared to last year’s 0.23 percent. It’s not surprising that many people decided not to move to California. Property taxes are extremely high, and people, along with business owners, are having trouble keeping up with monthly payments. 

The fact is that California’s housing expenses are incredibly high, many cities are experiencing gentrification and poor neighborhoods are turning into easy targets by real estate developers and investors. Instead of diverting more funds and resources to neighborhoods impacted by poverty, many choose to build condos and housing units for wealthier buyers in places like San Francisco. 

San Francisco’s Chinatown might experience a new gentrification wave because the city hasn’t given them enough financial aid during the pandemic. Obviously, in many cities within California, wealthy developers are succeeding in taking over poor neighborhoods. Their money investments in properties can create more affluent areas and ultimately draw in a new influx of rich residents. 

San Francisco officials have left their residents to deal with rent increases independently, and their efforts haven’t been deemed beneficial for many, including business owners suffering from pandemic-ridden closures. The city of San Francisco recently sold the land to Amazon officials where housing units were originally meant to be built. For 200 million dollars, Amazon plans to build new warehouses instead of the envisioned housing units that many residents would have profited from. 

This isn’t to say that they would be affordable housing units. Although San Francisco officials planned to build new units, they weren’t meant to benefit underprivileged residents but instead cash-rich residents. This shows that officials aren’t acting fast enough to provide more affordable housing units, apartments for homeless individuals or rehabilitation centers that could house some of the homeless population in San Francisco. 

San Francisco is home to many college students struggling to afford housing spaces, along with communities that have struggled to keep up with constant changes involving rent. Despite seeing rising numbers of homeless individuals, San Francisco hasn’t developed a plan to tackle these problems. 

This week, Proposition C in San Francisco has finally become a reality, and funds are being collected in an effort to provide $393 million annually to create permanent housing for underprivileged individuals. Despite the proposition’s acceptance in 2018, two years later, we are finally seeing actions that will help house individuals permanently struggling to find affordable housing. 

It’s alleged that 15 percent of these funds will prevent people from becoming homeless, and 10 percent will go into temporary housing units and hygienic resources. This is finally a step in the right direction; city officials need to redirect their funds into disadvantaged communities instead of building new unattainable housing units for most people. Residents are spending most of their paychecks on housing and aren’t making ends meet. 

Communities are witnessing new housing developments being built for affluent individuals instead of structured developments that will house many of our homeless population. Homeless shelters are frequently full and can only house a limited number of homeless people; with the pandemic, it’s challenging to accommodate everyone since social distancing rules are in place. 

It’s essential for California officials, especially city officials in overpopulated areas, to establish affordable housing in desperately needed communities. Since homelessness is easier to achieve than affordable housing, officials need to develop accessible housing and open it to underserved communities. 

Funding propositions, such as Proposition C, will be beneficial for many residents and pave the way for more housing opportunities targeting disadvantaged communities. 

Michelle Moreno is a fourth-year majoring in English and minoring in Chicano Studies. She is from Downtown Los Angeles.


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34 thoughts on “Student Opinion: San Francisco’s Homeless Population Remains Concerning”

  1. Tia Will

    Thanks, Michelle for a very timely article.

    Yesterday I read a tangentially related article that for me demonstrates the multiple layers of failure in our current system. A woman and her children were evicted from their home ( in another state) despite the partial ban on evictions during the pandemic. She qualified for relief from eviction under the state’s temporary ban, but her landlord appealed and the judge ruled in his favor. 3 other tenants were hired by the landlord to come in and move all their positions and put them outside.

    I can see a very different scenario. 1. A judge that rules in her favor according to the obvious intent of the ban. 2. A landlord willing to make alternative payment arrangements rather than turning a family out of their shelter in the winter and pandemic. 3. Residents who instead of accepting payment from the landlord, would band together and secure enough money to temporarily pay her rent perhaps via a Go-fund-me or other local effort.

    Many say they believe it is the job of philanthropy, not the government, to care for those who are experiencing extreme poverty. Yet these folks seem unwilling to accept that often neither they, not anyone else steps up when they become aware of an individual need they could address.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Many say they believe it is the job of philanthropy, not the government, to care for those who are experiencing extreme poverty. Yet these folks seem unwilling to accept that often neither they, not anyone else steps up when they become aware of an individual need they could address.

      Well, the two can ‘mix’ (philanthropy and government)… Congress just approved stimulus checks $600/person …

      I hope you and yours can help set the example we have committed to…

      For many conservatives, the relief bill was too generous, and unwise… I urge them to either write a check back to the US Treasury, or donate the $$$ to charity (not PAC’s!)

      For the rest of us moderates and/or liberal/progressives who have not experienced loss of employment due to Covid, I urge you to turn the money you recieve either back to the government, or make a charitable contribution(s) in the same amount… the stimulus $$$ for the least of us is likely not fully restorative…

      We have already decided that 100% of our checks will go to augment the money we have been directing to charities… focused on the poor/homeless/unemployed, and the services they desperately need…

      Consider this a challenge, to all, to put your money where your mouth is… in any event, that’s what we’ll be doing…

      For Christians, read and ponder on, Matt 25:31, ff… others may find wisdom in that, as well… ”kinda universal”…

      One does not need to be religious to be spiritual nor compassionate…

      1. Keith Olsen

        For many conservatives, the relief bill was too generous, and unwise

        Many conservatives didn’t understand why people who never lost their jobs should receive a check.  I fall in that category and I don’t feel I should get an extra $600.  Also many conservatives reject this type of pork that was hidden in the 6000 page bill:

        $169,739,000 to Vietnam, including $19 million to remediate dioxins (page 1476).

        Unspecified funds to “continue support for not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Kabul, Afghanistan that are accessible to both women and men in a coeducational environment” (page 1477).

        $198,323,000 to Bangladesh, including $23.5 million to support Burmese refugees and $23.3 million for “democracy programs” (page 1485).

        $130,265,000 to Nepal for “development and democracy programs” (page 1485).

        Pakistan: $15 million for “democracy programs” and $10 million for “gender programs” (page 1486).

        Sri Lanka: Up to $15 million “for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter,” which is a type of patrol boat (page 1489).

        $505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to “address key factors that contribute to the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491).

        $461,375,000 to Colombia for programs related to counternarcotics and human rights (pages 1494-1496).

        $74.8 million to the “Caribbean Basin Security Initiative” (page 1498).

        $33 million “for democracy programs for Venezuela” (page 1498).

        Unspecified amount to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago “for assistance for communities in countries supporting or otherwise impacted by refugees from Venezuela” (page 1499).

        $132,025,000 “for assistance for Georgia” (page 1499).

        $453 million “for assistance for Ukraine” (page 1500).

        1. Don Shor

          $505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to “address key factors that contribute to the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491).

          That certainly seems like money well spent to me.
          This is how legislation is made. You want to pass a bill, you compromise and in order to get votes you include things certain members want. I don’t think anyone is fully satisfied with the outcome of this bill, but it gets money out there into the economy, provides some aid to people who desperately need it, and allows this Congress to go home and the next one can pass another bill if that seems necessary.

        2. Eric Gelber

          Also many conservatives reject this type of pork that was hidden in the 6000 page bill: …

          Hardly hidden. The COVID relief funds were added to a $1.4 trillion comprehensive end of session spending bill that included the items you list—which are not necessarily “pork.” So-called pork is used by both parties to achieve compromise on overall spending bills, and no one likes all of it.

        3. Eric Gelber

          I repeat: The $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that includes aid to other countries is not part of the COVID relief package. While the COVID bill was attached to the spending bill, the spending bill had to be passed to fund the federal government for the rest of the year.

        4. Don Shor

          A stimulus bill to help Americans in need due to COVID that sends our money elsewhere in the world is money well spent?

           

          The Breitbart article you copied and pasted that from, or the other media source that copied it from them, didn’t explain to you that the COVID relief bill was passed as part of the omnibus spending bill, which included funding for a lot of things. The COVID relief was about $900 billion of the bigger piece of legislation. The things your source cited were not related to the COVID relief.

          Yes, I think money spent to help address the reasons people immigrate from Central America is money well spent. But it wasn’t COVID related.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Now that you mention it, that’s true.

          But you’d think that other Republicans (e.g., who are fiscally-conservative) would have opposed him.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a party fall “so much in line” with a president, before.  Seems like some were intimidated by him – even AFTER he lost the election.

          Oh, well – he’s gone, and I doubt that he’ll run again (or even have that much influence within the party).

        6. Eric Gelber

          Oh, well – he’s gone, and I doubt that he’ll run again (or even have that much influence within the party).

          I disagree. He’ll still have influence with his base. For that reason, he doesn’t have to run again to intimidate Republicans. He can threaten to support other candidates in primaries, for example, which is a major reason GOP politicians are afraid to cross him now.

        7. Alan Miller

          $505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to “address key factors that contribute to the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491).

          That certainly seems like money well spent to me.

          Say WHAT?  I think you are falling victim to the same fallacy of calling an initiative GREEN and SUSTAINABLE while making sure the only company that will get the money is – the company that sponsored the bill.

          address key factors that contribute to – lots of weasel words there.  What assurance to we have that addressing these issues will actually have an affect, if not a negative one?

          but it gets money out there into the economy,

          Yeah, the economies of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

          This is how legislation is made.

          That’s how terrible legislation is made.  I have no problem with politicians compromising on the SUBJECT to aid their constituents – but adding in budget items like this HALF BILLION DOLLAR example that his nothing to do with stimulating the US economy is outlandish.  Create a bill that is ON SUBJECT, don’t hide things in other bills.  Yes it’s how it’s done — why on Earth would you defend that practice?

          1. Don Shor

            Create a bill that is ON SUBJECT, don’t hide things in other bills.

            The COVID relief bill was attached to the omnibus spending bill. This has now been explained four times.

        8. Alan Miller

          The COVID relief bill was attached to the omnibus spending bill. This has now been explained four times.

          Do I hear five times?  Going once, going twice — sold for four times to the man who came to Davis on the Omni Bus.

      2. Ron Oertel

        Thanks, Keith.  At the very least, this type of information should be reported by mainstream media.  I was not aware of it.

        I suspect that many “not-so-well-off” people in this country might be somewhat outraged by it, regardless of their political views. Including some “people of color”, some who face eviction, etc.

        I’m not sure what to think of it.

        Nor do I know how this type of money is going to be paid back, to the government.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Nor do I know how this type of money is going to be paid back, to the government.

          Well, when you and Keith O get your checks, you can return it to the US Treasury… at least that will be something… can we count on you to do that?

        2. Alan Miller

          Well, when you and Keith O get your checks, you can return it to the US Treasury… at least that will be something… can we count on you to do that?

          I’m keeping my check, because the system allows it.  Just like the system allow DT to not pay taxes.  Yet he gets slammed for following the law.  How about slamming instead those who create the laws after being paid off by lobbyists (possibly including DT).

  2. Chris Griffith

    I totally feel these people’s pain but I also feel the pain of the poor person who owns the house that these people are renting you know they got to make house payments also you’re quite possibly they might even need the money to buy food with.

    Pertaining to the subject of philanthropy I think that all went to Texas with the big tech companies.

    On another note has anybody heard when Uncle biden’s going to open up the southern border I need some cheap labor to mow my grass and damn leaves keep piling up.

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      Pertaining to the subject of philanthropy I think that all went to Texas with the big tech companies.

      This is a story/phenomenon in-and-of itself. I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for that to start occurring.

      And parts of Texas have become a little more like California, in the process.

    2. Alan Miller

      they got to make house payments also you’re quite possibly they might even need the money to buy food with.

      No.  People with houses are rich.  Don’t you know?

      1. Keith Olsen

        No.  People with houses are rich.  Don’t you know?

        That’s the thing that stuck out to me in this article, the “eviction free” sign.  People act like all people that own rental units are rich and evil and don’t have monthly financial obligations they have to meet.

        1. Bill Marshall

          I’d go one step further… financial obligations and financial liabilities… the “what if ” stuff… when we ‘moved up’, we were strapped for cash… developer did not accept contingent offers… the time was depressed housing value, slow sales rates… we had to rent out our ‘old house’ to meet the requirements to buy the new house… for years, it was a “push”, and only then if rent/utilities were paid on-time… we were still paying mortgage, taxes, insurance, City utilities… none of those payees cared if our rental income paid for that…

          Now, if the “no eviction” due to non-payment of rent, due to Covid related thingy had teeth to protect landlords from mortgages, property taxes, insurance payments, utilities,  etc., in the exact same manner… am fully there… but that does not appear to be on the table… big corporations are one thing… small-time landlords, quite another… many can’t rely on tax-write-offs (which is not $ for $) to even break even in “real time”… the rest would be “charity”, but not sure IRS or others would grant relief $ for $…

        2. Alan Miller

          People act like all people that own rental units are rich and evil and don’t have monthly financial obligations they have to meet.

          Some of them are “rich” (searching for definition), others are up sh*t creek without a paddle, actually worse off than those with little money but without debt, as their debts exceed their income.

          How do we solve this?  Eat the Rich!  (Thank you, Steven Tyler).

          Or, as twice-former Governor Jerry Brown so eloquently puts it:

          “Those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they’re going to have to share more of that.”

  3. Chris Griffith

    I found a story on the internet and everyone knows the internet would never never lie to me 😁

    U.S.—Americans have reported they’re very optimistic about the stimulus package passed by Congress last week. In particular, people all around the country are excited to get paid with a little bit of the money that they paid the federal government already.
     
    Americans from all walks of life said they couldn’t wait to receive a check with a small percentage of the money the government had already taken from them.
     
    “I can’t wait to get that $600.00 check of my own money,” said one man in Texas, rubbing his hands together. “Surely this will get the economy back on track.”
     
    From the rich to the poor, American citizens spent many hours dreaming of all the things they will spend their newfound riches on. “With $600.00, I could save enough to pay my taxes on time this year,” said one woman in Los Angeles. “Thanks so much, Congress. You’re the real heroes here.”
     
    A small percentage of the population said they thought it would be way more efficient for the economy if the government just didn’t take the money in the first place. These people were shouted down as “libertarian conspiracy theorist wackos” and told to move to Somalia.
     
    Sadly, by the time all the administration costs, government pet projects, and handouts were factored in, the stimulus each American was to receive became a negative amount, forcing Congress to raise taxes to pay for a new stimulus bill. 
     

  4. Chris Griffith

    How does survive the next four years
    Once Biden and Harris are in office, that can mean only one thing: get ready for socialism! You know these no-good socialists are gonna socialize everything in sight. That’s why I compiled these helpful tips to help you prepare for the coming socialist darkness! If you follow these 10 pointers, you’ll be great!
     
    Tip #1: Watch Sesame Street videos on sharing
     
    Sharing is basically the same thing as socialism. The makers of Sesame Street know this well and have been quietly brainwashing kids to become socialists for decades. Spend a night binge-watching songs from Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger that encourage sharing and get yourself in the socialist spirit! Hey — it’s not so bad!
     

    Tip #2: Repent of your sin of capitalism
     
    We all know Jesus was a socialist because he fed people and cared about the poor and stuff. You are just a lowly capitalist pig, but he is ready to forgive you for your capitalism if you repent. For good measure, grab yourself a cat o’ nine tails and do some self-flagellation. That oughta do it.
     

    Tip #3: Emotionally distance yourself from your dog
     
    We hate to break it to you, but food is going to be a little scarce from now on. If you don’t have a dog, get one just in case. If you already have a dog, start to emotionally distance yourself from that thing. Also, stock up on cats.
     
     
    Tip #4 Get ready for universal healthcare by standing in line at the DMV
     
    An important part of being a socialist is standing in lines like a good citizen. As a greedy capitalist used to instant gratification, you’ll need some practice. Get yourself a comfy pair of shoes and go practice standing in line for hours at the DMV. When you’re ready for the next level, stand in line at the county fair for a funnel cake, and then don’t buy one!
     
     
    Tip #5: Watch classic Obama speeches to get yourself pumped up
     
    It’s widely accepted that Obama is the most inspiring and uplifting speaker in all of human history. Watch his inspiring speeches over and over again to get yourself totally pumped up! If you’re short on time, just play a looped recording of Obama saying “that’s not who we are” over and over again.
     
     
    Tip #6: Withdraw all your money in one-dollar bills so you’ll have plenty of toilet paper
     
    Let’s face it: money is an obsolete relic of capitalism and you don’t need it anymore because The State will take care of you! Also, due to hyperinflation, all that filthy mammon is no longer worth the paper it’s printed on. Your best bet is to hoard all that paper to use as toilet paper and fuel for fires during the winter. Your butt will thank you!
     
     
    Tip #7: Memorize your favorite books
     
    Books are full of forbidden knowledge that may endanger The State, so you’ll probably want to get rid of those. That said, if you want to hang on to your favorite Harry Potter story for old time’s sake, you best memorize that thing.
     
      
    Tip #8: Fast at least 4 days a week to teach your body it doesn’t really need food
     
    Food is for weak capitalists. You’re not a capitalist, are you? Good socialists will never let themselves be tainted by delicious capitalist foods like bacon burgers and chimichangas. You’re better than that, comrade. Train your body to go without food as long as possible so that your government protectors may have the nourishment they need!
     
     
    Tip #9: Wean yourself off sleeping on a bed
     
    Beds are for colonizers. Indigenous people have slept on the ground for years and so can you, bigot.
     
     
    Tip #10: Get rid of all religious books and imagery in your house
     
    Make sure to rid yourself of anything that may divide your loyalty, for your government is a jealous government. You must not let any real or imagined deities distract you. Get rid of all holy books, hymnals, and Chris Tomlin CDs. 
     

  5. Alan Miller

    Hundreds of people have moved to California throughout the years in search of greater opportunities and a different lifestyle.

    Hundreds!  Oh, my.  That’s, like, SO MANY.

  6. Keith Olsen

    Trump now asking for $2000 direct payments to the people instead of $600 and wants congress to cut the pork.

    “I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000, or $4000 for a couple” 

    “It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID”

    “Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries and lobbyists and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it” 

    “I am also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill”

    1. Don Shor

      Demonstrating again his total incompetence. If those were his conditions, he should have mentioned them to his Treasury Secretary during the negotiations that his Treasury Secretary was conducting on behalf of his administration.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Maybe, but I’ll bet the American People agree with Trump here.  Our own people are suffering yet they see their tax money being spent all over the world on pork while they’re looking at puny $600 checks.

        1. Don Shor

          $2000 is fine with me, fine with the Democratic Party leadership. The negotiations throughout this process were about getting enough Republicans in the Senate to vote for a COVID relief bill. He has put McConnell in a very tough spot on this, possibly delaying the measure and likely doing great harm to millions of Americans if the GOP balks. These negotiations have been going on for weeks and suddenly he scuttles them, literally after the vote has already occurred.
          Trying to link foreign aid from the omnibus spending bill to the COVID relief legislation is literally dishonest.

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