San Francisco Debates Continuing Homeless Encampment Program

Noah Friedlander via (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en) Flickr

San Francisco officials are debating whether or not to shut down the Homeless Encampment Program that costs then city $60k per tent.

This debate has kicked off not because the program is attracting more homeless people or that the city is spending millions on this, the debate kicked off because Covid-19 restrictions are winding down and it might be time to rethink the city’s strategy when it comes to dealing with homelessness.

From the Daily Wire: 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city’s homelessness department “is pushing to continue an expensive tent encampment program that it says is crucial for keeping people off the sidewalks, despite its high price tag of more than $60,000 per tent, per year.” The outlet reported that “the program currently costs $18.2 million for about 260 tents,” and “the department is now asking for $15 million in the upcoming fiscal year for a similar number of tents, which amounts to about $57,000 per tent per year.”

Some of the sites are operated by nonprofits, while the tent program is entirely financed through a business tax measure overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2018.

“If the funding is approved, San Francisco will pay about twice the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment for people to sleep in tents for the second year in a row,” the Chronicle reported.

The city established six safe sleeping villages during the pandemic to provide a place for homeless people to social distance, sleep, receive three meals a day, maintain personal hygiene, and have access to social services. There are rented bathroom and shower facilities at the sites and 24-hour security — amenities that absorb most of the costs.

Jeff Kositsky, who previously ran the cities Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing,  told the LA Times that the reason for all the homelessness was “failures of our brand of capitalism” and “institutional racism.”

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