Outreach diary — Fulton Mall Camp

Friday, May 8th

I went out to the encampment at what they call Fulton Mall today — the area on Fulton Street surrounded by the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Main Library and the Civic Center Plaza; As outreachers at the Coalition on Homelessness, we’ve been spending a lot of time there over the past week and a half. Today, things got lively! It has been extremely challenging getting straight answers, but I feel like we started getting some today.

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California’s largest shelter outbreak: A case of government malfeasance

Doctors, public health experts call for testing and housing all shelter residents in hotels 

Yesterday, California experienced its most widespread outbreak of COVID-19 in any homeless shelter to date where nearly half of 144 shelter residents tested positive. For some perspective, the outbreak in this single shelter of 70 shelter guests comprises 8.5% of all positive cases in San Francisco, which total 857 as of Saturday. 

When looking back on the lead-up to this catastrophe we see a series of policy missteps that got us here. 

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Cities Are Moving Unhoused People into Hotel Rooms, San Francisco Isn’t

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, San Francisco Mayor London Breed has refused to use executive powers to house San Francisco’s 9,000 homeless residents living in the City’s streets and shelters. Under the Mayor’s emergency powers in the Charter and Administrative Code, Breed has the authority to commandeer a portion of the 33,000 vacant hotel rooms to house homeless residents, but has yet to utilize those powers in spite of the dire situation at hand. 

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Coronavirus Hits San Francisco: How Poor and Homeless People are Surviving

Project Homeless Connect planned to host their regular homelessness services fair that centralizes services for unhoused people to access on March 4th. But two days before the date, the group sent out an email alerting participants and providers that the fair was cancelled, on the recommendation of the Department of Public Health (DPH). Health officials were gearing up for Coronavirus to hit the city, and bringing together thousands of providers and volunteers and unhoused people could pose a risk to the health of all in attendance.

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Fight for Essential Trans Services

The seminal clinic that developed the gender protocols by which bigger, better funded medical providers now endeavor to treat trans patients, Lyon-Martin Health Services, is also my everyday clinic, and I still need it. It’s where I meet with my primary care provider, where I go when I’m sick, where I get my hormone scrips refilled, where I was able to get effective referrals for gender confirmation surgeries, where I got all my paperwork for legal gender change,

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When Mental Illness is Environmental

By David Spero

Reprinted from The Inn by the Healing Path

Everyone knows about environmental illnesses, caused by pollution or unhealthy working conditions. But mental health problems can be environmental too, unavoidable reactions to difficult life situations. Changing the environment can change a person’s thoughts and emotions, as it has for my friend Jessie.

I’ve known Jessie since her 30s, when we played in a band together,

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Mayor and Board Reach Deal on Mental Health SF

by Jennifer Friedenbach

In a compromise, two competing measures on mental health will not go to the ballot; instead, Mental Health SF will go through the legislative process.  The very contentious process ended in awkward hugs as the city family shared the stage on the steps of city hall in a press conference announcing the deal on November 12, 2019. 

     Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney proposed going to the ballot with Mental Health SF,

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NEW COUNT FOR THE HOMELESS

A red house contains the words "Point In Time Count" with a family silhouetted within the letter "O"

By Darnell Boyd

The homeless population has grown to 9,800 people — how did this happen?

I’ll tell you how: Our elected officials feel as though the homelessness problem is too great for them. My answer to them is, if so, then you should resign and let someone else who can fix it have your job. Quit catering to the special interest groups, pull up your sleeves and get to work.

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Safer Inside: A Community Demonstration

It would be easy to miss, with Prop C in full swing, with political candidates talking about their “solutions to the biggest challenges facing the city today”, with successive mayors intensifying the criminalizing sweeps of our friends and family on the streets… But San Francisco is making radical steps – leading the country, in fact – with the first ever demonstration model of a safe injection site in the United States.

“Safer Inside: A Community Demonstration” took place in the last week of August,

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