Stopping Sweeps Saves Lives, Research Shows

A tent is in the center of the frame. In front of it is what looks like a white dollhouse, laying flat on the ground. The image is in Black and White

by TJ Johnston 

For years, the mantra for advocates of unhoused people has been “sweeps kill.” Now, their tagline has science and hard numbers to back it up.

In a study focused on 23 U.S. cities including San Francisco, researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and several other academic institutions determined that unsheltered people who inject drugs and who are repeatedly forced out of street encampments are likely to suffer higher illness and death rates than their peers who stay put.


Hotel Whitcomb, the Last Resort in SF’s Homeless Hotel Program, is Closing

The program accommodating unhoused San Franciscans during the COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled to end in mid-December with the shuttering of the Hotel Whitcomb, according to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH).

The Whitcomb has become the last remaining safe harbor for homeless people in its final days of participating in the shelter-in-place (SIP) hotel program. Since the program began during the pandemic’s early days in April 2020, the Whitcomb has been one of 25 sites that provide a place to stay for people who would otherwise have no roof over their heads at the onset of a global public health emergency.


Stopping Sweeps Can End the Cycle of Trauma. This Clinical Social Worker Tells Us How.

A woman sits in an office in front of two signs protesting encampment sweeps.

With encampment sweeps in San Francisco becoming as common a sight as street dwellings themselves, some things are easily observed: large Public Works trucks pulling up, police officers enforcing the operations and unhoused residents scrambling to hold onto what’s left of their possessions that isn’t already thrown in the trucks. 

Video still of Diana Valentine by Jin Zhu

What’s less visible are the traumatic effects unsheltered San Franciscans suffer long after the streets are cleared of sidewalk habitation.


San Francisco Sued to Stop Sweeps

In June, Teresa Sandoval woke up in her spot underneath the highway near 13th and Mission streets to the sounds of a San Francisco Public Works crew conducting another encampment sweep.

Sandoval had already gone through this drill: Public Works, often accompanied by San Francisco Police Department officers, arrived unannounced and ordered her to pack up her belongings and leave. As she moved in her wheelchair gathering her stuff, Public Works staff removed her tent,


Glide to Host COVID Vaccinations in Tenderloin

Unhoused San Franciscans in the Tenderloin will now have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, thanks to a successful pilot program at Glide, the neighborhood nonprofit announced.

Glide’s website said that the March 25 pilot will lead to a weekly clinic on Thursdays as part of the Tenderloin Community Resource Hub.

“It will be a pop-up, but the hope is [it will] be a recurring one — like the COVID testing site at Glide now,” Glide communications director Robert Avila said in response to a query from Street Sheet.



Pink background, black text reading "Hate Has No Home Here"

By TJ Johnston

Judging by the raucous community meeting about the proposed navigation center by The Embarcadero, it’s safe to assume nobody was satisfied.

The City’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing hosted the meeting on April 3 at the Delancey Street Foundation, less than a four-minute walk from the potential site on Port of San Francisco-owned property at Seawall Lot 330.

And the audience was divided into two camps as distinct as the separate GoFundMe campaigns related to the would-be shelter.



By TJ Johnston

Who would have thought talking about the weather could be so intense?

San Francisco officials and community members weren’t just interested in small talk, though. The Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee held a three hour-plus hearing on March 7 about the cold and wet weather policy for homeless people.

But while the hearing was about the bad weather protocols, it didn’t take long for it to become a forum on the City’s heavy-handed practice of sweeping homeless encampments — especially during the recent heavy rainstorms.