Why We Need Safer Consumption Sites

Safer Consumption Sites (also referred to as Safer Injection Facilities, Overdose Prevention Programs, Supervised Consumption Services) have been a hot topic nationwide, but especially here in San Francisco. There are over 25,000 people who inject drugs in San Francisco alone and the overdose crisis has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many see the rising overdose statistics as a result of fentanyl, despite it being prevalent on the West Coast since around 2014. Those working in drug policy,


Do Not Speak for Us

To Japanese Americans who oppose using empty hotels as permanent housing for homeless people: Don’t rewrite our history to increase profits for the real estate industry.

On October 19, real estate developers and some Japantown residents slid a knife into plans for permanent, supportive housing for homeless people. Instead of converting the failed 131-room tourist Buchanan Hotel into long-term housing for people who need it, the City is backing off thanks to a misinformation campaign spread in part by other Japanese Americans. 


I Narrowly Escaped Foster Care When I Was 15

I owe an incredible debt to Huckleberry House.

I’ve always considered myself an open person, but this is not a part of my life I am comfortable talking about. It’s taken me several tries to get my thoughts out, but I believe that if my story can shed light on the need for our government to invest in social services, and soften the heart of even just one of our legislators,


The Forever Home

It is difficult for me to write about the topic of homelessness because it brings up many upsetting emotions and past experiences. But I will write anyway and simply accept the pain that will arise.

I ask myself what can I say about this issue that has not yet been said? What contribution can I make?  

I was homeless for 15 plus years. I have personal experiences with the injustices that often cause one to live without housing and I also am aware of the ongoing oppression that happens when you are living on the street.


They Have Millions, We Have What Is Right

I’ve been fighting an eviction since 2019. After living in my apartment for 20 years, always paying the rent on time, never bothering our landlords, they sold the building. Our rent-controlled unit paid off their mortgage (maybe several times over), and now in retirement they cashed in on San Francisco’s nouveau riche market.

The new buyer, of course, wants to kick us out. They are exploiting an Ellis Act loophole that allows for “owner-move-in” evictions—meaning that they can legally force us from our home as long as they or members of their family intend to live in it.


Their Original Faces

I have not been homeless in almost a decade. 

But my homelessness was deeply influenced by the fact that my mother was homeless before me, for many years.

I loved her so much. When your own mother hits the streets, you learn something. When she was homeless, a part of me was homeless.

That is actually how the Buddha sees homelessness: If you suffer, I can embrace that. This is not an embrace as if it is a burden.


As Hotels Close, Advocates Say “Keep SIPs Open”

On October 20, the Tilden Hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood saw more people outside its doors on a damp, dreary afternoon than were inside. About two dozen activists from the Coalition on Homelessness, Senior & Disability Action and other allies and members of the city’s unhoused community rallied outside the nine-story hotel that, until that week, was used as a shelter-in-place (SIP) hotel to protect homeless people from COVID-19. 

The advocates demanded that SIP hotels funded and operated by the City stay open,


Gimme Shelter

Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

“Gimme Shelter” -Jagger/Richards

Last weekend, San Francisco endured record rainfall during its first major rainstorm of the year, receiving over 4 inches of rain within the roughly 48 hours that it lasted. The storm had been forecast for over a week and was all over television, internet and radio. For most locals,


Victims of a Failed System

Coordinated Entry is known to most folks experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. It is a system designed to coordinate and manage the limited resources available to unhoused people in San Francisco, and to prioritize who has access to housing subsidies and who does not. The evaluation is very strict and asks a range of questions about the health, income, and current living situation of those who enroll. 

There are people with jobs who work full time,


Spirits on the Streets of San Francisco

To read more by this author, visit www.thepaltrysum.com

There are spirits on the streets. Spirits that walk the line between this world and the next. There are spirits that hide in the shadows. Yokai creatures that howl and bark and turn into tea kettles that do skateboard tricks along the Embarcadero, having lost their tightropes somewhere in Osaka in 1859. There are Angels. And there are demons. There is the ‘As Above’ and the ‘So Below’.