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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

City Finds Homeless Woman Housing -- One Down, Thousands More to Go

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2011 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge Needs a lot more than just a bed for the night
  • Needs a lot more than just a bed for the night

We already know it's wishful thinking that the city will reach former Mayor Gavin Newsom's pie-in-the-sky idea to end chronic homelessness by 2014 -- for plenty of reasons.

But Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius points out that city leaders are trying, really, really hard to combat homelessness, one sleeping bag at a time.

And here is proof: In his column today, Nevius recounts a short, but sweet feel-good story about how the mayor's homeless adviser finally got the chronically homeless "Ms. Flowers" into city-supported housing after three years of her refusing to leave the Western Addition sidewalks.

But what Nevius doesn't mention is one true and telling fact about homelessness: A bed for a night or even a week isn't going to help solve the city's most vexing issue.

As evidenced by Newsom's quarterly Project Homeless Connect, the homeless population needs resources to help them deal with some of the underlying problem of homelessness, like debilitating substance abuse.

In other words, even with a bed available to them, that won't stop many homeless people from hitting the streets to kill a pint of Crown Royal everyday.

Before leaving office, Newsom bragged that the homeless population was reduced by 40 percent under his watch, although homeless advocates vehemently argue that this number is inflated.

So now we wait -- wait to find out the most up-to-date tally of those who are living on the streets. In January, the city did it's biannual homeless count, which SF Weekly has already illustrated is a farce.

But even if those numbers have improved, showing that fewer people are sleeping on the streets, we can't expect it to stay that way for long if the city follows through with its plans to cut millions of dollars for homeless resources and services, including .

After all, it's these services -- meals, counseling, and employment resources -- that would truly get the root of homelessness.  

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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