OUR POOR ON PARADE
Daily in this City and County of San Francisco with a population of about 750,000 constituents we have over 10,000 homeless people trying to eke out a living on the mean streets of San Francisco.
Mayor Gavin Newsom made a big deal about Care not Cash and while the words sound good the end result has been that many homeless are worse off today and have to deal with the rude homeless shelter managers much like the Brown Shirts of the Mussolini regime.
When Angela Alioto formed a core group of experts I attended a few meetings to learn more about homelessness. For over 15 years I have been helping those in need on the streets of San Francisco. There is nothing that I have not seen and there is nothing that will phase me.
We have a very high percentage of homeless who have an on going mental problem. Today it is fact that the best mental treatment that the homeless get is when they are incarcerated. Before I knew this to be a fact. Attending the meetings with the experts they too state the same thing. The best help our mentally get are in the jails of the City and County of San Francisco.
Our Board of Supervisors (BOS) fail to understand that the homeless problem is a major problem that should have in place a Department that has clout. If direction is given with trained officials who can adjudicate cases linked to rape, the disabled, the elderly, mentally ill - we can have some real accountability and transparency.
The homeless project has been a over $100 million project and over the past 10 years most of the money was spent by those pushing paper and in administrative work. Many made money off the backs of the poor.
The poorly paid facilitators at the Homeless Shelters are not trained to handle the mentally ill. They have no understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act - not even our Board of Supervisors has nor does our Mayor. The officials at all levels should get some orientation and then most of the rudeness, the lack of courtesy, the blatant attacks on women, children, men, and our elderly will fade. Since the early 1980s our streets have been hit with crack heads. Crack heads are folks who have fallen prey to the worst type of drug that totally consummates the person so that when the person is in need of a hit - that person will do anything to get a hit. Anything - even murder.
Most people on crack find it very difficult to get off it and be clean. When the homeless population has to deal with mean drug dealers and drug addicts - the equation of safety and all other aspects in the homeless shelter or even Laguna Honda changes.
Never ever did the system at any level take into consideration incorrigible addicts of the worst kind when it comes to violent behavior as have been displayed by those who are on crack cocaine? Even in the jail system - when addicts are jailed behind bars - the jailers find it difficult to deal with the various situations. Imagine homeless shelters?
In many of our Homeless Shelters those poor that need help most - suffer the most. One of the ways to address the situation is to separate those homeless who are Elderly, Disabled, and those who have children. Folks in this category should have separate care and added safety.
One has just to visit some Homeless Shelters and be hit with the stench that comes from the filthy mats, beds, and the floors. It is this basic way of not addressing the fundamentals of hygiene that bothers anyone who has any inclination to remedy the basic situation facing the homeless.
Our San Francisco General Hospital goes out of its way to serve the Homeless. I have seen this first hand on my many visits when I have to help some one or when I have to go to the various floors or Emergency Floor. There is no doubt our SF General Hospital and especially the doctors and nurses do and have done a great service to humanity.
We have millions of dollars set aside to help the homeless. Even the Federal Government has given added money to help the homeless. Today, I have not seen one single Homeless Shelter that is in par with the better Homeless Shelters in Boston, Chicago or New York. We can do better in San Francisco but we have too much bureaucracy that fails to take one down the right path to help those most in need of help. We want to hear from the doctors and experts what are the best solutions linked to homelessness. We only want to hear from these experts. If we go out of our way to listen to the experts then why do we not allow the experts to visit the Homeless Shelters and other Single Residency Occupancy Hotels and get the best advice from the experts. As far as I know this has not been done.
The committee to address the Homeless Problem met many times but of late there has been a deep frustration. Many of the volunteers and others who wanted to help and contribute their talents have now been frustrated?
Recently I listened to numerous homeless and others testify before the Rules Committee. The testimony of the homeless was genuine but the response from Sophie Maxwell and Michela Alioto-Pier lacking the fundamental understanding of issues that befall the homeless. There is only one way these two women can learn and that is by spending time in a Homeless Shelter and the best time would be around 7 p.m. any evening.
The Mayor's Office has tried to use some ideas on paper and tried to enforce it. Lacking are the real practical issues stemming from physical, psychological, emotional, plain frustration, hard work, deep understanding, traumatic situations, - none of which can be measured on plain paper. Spirituality is any form does not form part of the stable equation. There is no room to educate and given food to the mind too.
From time to time I talk to the homeless and those homeless who have had skills and can work have made some headway. Those who have mental problems and those include our Veterans are plain confused and have not been helped much. The Elderly, the disabled, the Families with Children and Homeless suffer a plight that cannot be described.
There is no doubt that for the last 70 years we have records that show the plight of the poor and those who are homeless. There is no doubt that in the last 10 years the problem linked to the homeless has grown chronic. The media has just reported that the homeless in California fare the worst in the Nation. In San Francisco we do have some facilities like Martin de Pores on Potrero, Glide Memorial on Taylor Street, Saint Anthony's on Golden Gate and a host of other institutions that are offering the best services in terms of food and some primary health benefits.
If our dumb, inept, lack of vision City Authorities have some sense they would not have allowed the former United States Public Hospital to be turned over to the National Park Service and then to the corrupt Presidio Trust. Mayor Frank Jordan could have helped the City and County of San Francisco but he had no vision. Homelessness could have been address at this facility.
If our City has some sense we could have secured the Presidio of San Francisco and helped some of the many who need homes. Corrupt and inept City and County of San Francisco officials let the opportunity slip by and now we have the Presidio Trust who have created an enclave for the filth rich. The Presidio of San Francisco and all the buildings there in were paid for - a hundred times over by taxpayers. It belongs to the people not to crooks from Colorado and the like of Don Fisher, Mary Murphy, Amy Meyer, and Toby the former City and County of San Francisco planner.
Our City and County of San Francisco is named after Saint Francis of Assisi. This City has always had the compassion but more the sense to do the right thing. We cannot expect uneducated Supervisors like Sophie Maxwell, Michela Alioto-Pier who was anointed and voted in by the filthy rich from Pacific Heights and the Marina to feel and work for the poor. Just watching her speak her mind she lack the basics of any good legislator. She keeps harping about ADA but has never pursued ADA by doing anything substantial for anyone who is disabled.
We have the Progress Foundation that gets millions of dollars and does a disservice to the mentally ill and the homeless. No one has taken these vermin to court. We have other institutions that prey on the homeless and the disabled - we do not have the justice in place to adjudicate. Hundreds of women over the last 10 years have been raped because they were homeless and forced to do it for shelter. The disabled have been kicked around and so have our poor homeless Elderly. Our children have had to endure the worst just because they are poor. From time to time I try my best to defend and help those who are powerless. Who will empower them? Who will adjudicate and punish those who prey on the poor?