Nice SF Chronicle newstory about San Francisco
and its generous help to homeless people acting
as a magnet for homeless from across the
country and from out of the country
- at the taxpayers expense.
So far going back to the wondeful
days of Art Agnos through today over
a billion has spent helping the homeless
- which really solved that problem - didn't it?
316 comments so far on the article at SF Chronicle.
This is just another prime example of the
unintended consequences of doing good
by our progressive supervisors freely
using the taxpayers as ATM's.
As FDR stated we need to help the
ill-clad the ill-fed and the ill-housed
but he ignored the one reason for
all of that - the lack of money. And
where did the lack of money come
from - the lack of jobs and the
welfare system which makes it
easier to not work becuause
welfare pays better than minimum wages.
San Francisco and its small business
payroll taxes sucks a minimum of
$120 million out of small business
operating income is enough to hire
6,000 minimum wage workers.
Then add in mandatory health
insurance and sick leave it's no
wonder there are homeless who
can't get a job and then come
for the handouts.
The War on Poverty a dismal failure
at the taxpayers expense.
Ron Getty - SF Libertarian
Hostis res Publica
Morte ai Tiranni
Dum Spiro, Pugno
S.F. blames out-of-towners for endless homeless problem
Saturday, December 20, 2008 City officials are finally admitting what others have been saying for years: San Francisco is attracting huge numbers of homeless people from all over. Thousands of transient people, arriving from other counties, states and even countries, are overwhelming the city's homeless system.
Facing a crippling budget shortfall, officials at San Francisco's homeless agencies are proposing a radical idea - take care of the city's own first, and require newcomers to show proof of residency for aid.
"If a homeless family living in San Francisco doesn't get shelter, and somebody just off the bus does, it doesn't seem fair," said Trent Rhorer, director of the Department of Human Services.
San Francisco has a long, proud history of reaching out to those who are homeless. This idea is bound to generate vociferous political debate and heated objections from homeless advocacy groups.
"It's scapegoating," said Paul Boden, director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project. "We have a crisis, so let's batten down the hatches and close the door."
But Dariush Kayhan, the mayor's homeless policy director, makes the case that San Francisco has led the nation in innovative, and expensive, homeless solutions.
"Since January of 2004 (when Gavin Newsom took office), we have housed 5,186 homeless people," Kayhan said. "We have built close to 3,500 homeless units, with another 445 to be built next year. And we know that 90 percent of those we have put in housing stay housed."
By any measure, say Kayhan and Rhorer, the $190 million San Francisco spends annually helping the homeless is the highest per capita outlay of any U.S. city.
In addition, the city's Homeward Bound program - which provides free bus fare for homeless who want to leave the city - has been a success since it was adopted in 2005. This year, through November, more than 800 were given tickets to leave. In a city where the un-housed population is estimated at between 2,000 and 3,000, that's a significant number.
And yet, after four years of a careful and well-resourced homeless plan, the city remains virtually where it was when Newsom took over. Single homeless men sleep in doorways, panhandlers pester tourists, and the number of homeless people, by official count, continues to grow.
A 2005 homeless person count came up with 2,655 people in the city. Two years later, after efforts to build units and house the chronically homeless, the total was 2,771.
The problem, Kayhan says, is that San Francisco has become a clearinghouse for other cities and states.
"People are coming from all over," Kayhan said. "I am seeing it firsthand. I often hear that this city or that city's homeless plan is a bus ticket to San Francisco."
Boden, who says he's been an advocate for those without housing for about 26 years, says he isn't surprised to hear the city blame the newcomers.
"This debate is as old as homelessness itself," he said. "Going back further, let's remember that Californians weren't crazy about the Okies (migrant workers from Oklahoma) during the Depression. What we need to remember is, these people are overwhelmingly American and 100 percent human beings."
But it will be hard to imagine that taxpayers won't favor the resident-first concept. By virtually any measure, it is clear that people in need are arriving from outside the city.
For example, a photographer and I went out on the street late Friday afternoon. We ran into Melvin Randal Osborn, a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk near Sixth Street, sipping a beer out of a paper bag. He'd come to San Francisco by bus, he said.
How common is someone like Osborn? Well, it took us 10 minutes to find him, and he was the second guy we talked to.
A survey of 136 families taken this year by the Department of Human Services' Connecting Point program found that 63 percent were not from San Francisco.
But that's not news to anyone regularly out on the street.
"My anecdotal data is that 8 out of 10 of those I speak to on the street are from somewhere else," Kayhan said. "Last week I went to a homeless encampment just off Mission and Ninth. There were seven homeless guys there, and when I asked them where they were from they said: Marin, Chicago, West Virginia, Santa Rosa, Texas, San Diego and Boston."
So how you verify residency for someone who doesn't have a home? Rhorer says the Department of Public Health already is applying a residency requirement for other programs, like food stamps and social services. Applicants are cross-checked against other counties to see if they are receiving aid there and are asked to provide a statement from a service provider - not a homeless advocacy group - that the person has been in San Francisco for at least three weeks.
This proposal is bound to be met with a firestorm of opposition.
But there are two critical factors at work. First is the budget deficit, which will require a hard look at programs that spend nearly $200 million a year. Second, local residents are making it clear that they are frustrated with the lack of progress in what many consider the city's No. 1 issue.
For someone like Rhorer, already facing cuts of 35 percent in his budget, it makes sense to focus on the city whose taxpayers are paying the way.
"San Francisco has made great progress in this issue," Rhorer said. "But at the same time, we feel like we are also addressing the state's homeless problem and even the nation's homeless problem."
In other words, it is a good thing to actively work to solve your own problems. It is another to get stuck with everyone else's.
C.W. Nevius' column runs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail him at cwnevius@....
This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle