Since 2018, the City of San Francisco has been using a system called Coordinated Entry to distribute housing resources to homeless people. Coordinated Entry is mandated by the federal government, and requires the city to score homeless people with points, to identify which people are the most vulnerable. The people with the most vulnerabilities (for example disability, substance abuse, or mental illness), are the first ones prioritized to receive housing. The Coalition on Homelessness hosted a listening session in August with 35 families who were experiencing or had experienced homelessness to get feedback on how Coordinated Entry has been going for people.
I was homeless for 15 years, and most of that time was spent on the streets of Berkeley and Oakland. I spend time thinking about those days now. I think about those moments often. I ask myself, “What is the takeaway? What have I learned from those years sleeping behind bushes?”
I never took a vow of poverty. If I had been able to hold down a job and pay rent and function the way that one is expected to do,
Originally published on thepaltrysum.com
In the middle of the storm it is hard to see the wood for the trees, the wind from the rain or the good from the bad. I lived in that storm for most of my adult life, and it is only in the last week that I have been inside looking out at the storm from a position of relative safety that I have been able to take stock.
As the pandemic continues and the shelter-in-place (SIP) hotels made available to unhoused community members begin to shut down, the most marginalized are suddenly being forced back onto the streets. As this occurs, one can only imagine the influx of calls to 911 dispatchers requesting the presence of police for nonviolent unhoused folks.
That is why it is so critical for San Francisco to implement the Compassionate Alternative Response Team, or CART,
Due to the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and their homes, leading many families into unsheltered homelessness. Organizers with the Coalition on Homelessness (COH) have been reaching out to vehicularly housed folks who live on Winston Street and Lake Merced Boulevard next to San Francisco State University, aiming to provide support and permanent solutions to people living in RVs. Vehicularly housed residents told the COH that they face several daily challenges, including a lack of access to drinking water,
“Homes not barricades!! Homes not barricades!!”
These are the words chanted by protesters marching through the streets of the Tenderloin. Some were carrying police barricades, while others held signs that read ‘DEFUND SFPD,” “Rent is Theft” and “Black Homes Matter”. Others were equipped with medical supplies and sustenance, and in the back you could hear the Brass Liberation orchestra playing their instruments brightly to the beat of the chants.
Community organizations such as House the Bay,
Almost prophetically, Ronnie Goodman made an etching of people marching in the street and carrying a banner that reads “No More Homeless Deaths,” one in a myriad of drawings, paintings and engravings he produced.
After a lifetime of creating art while homeless or incarcerated, on August 7, Ronnie Lamont Goodman was found dead in his tent outside the Redstone Building in San Francisco’s Mission District, where he intermittently stayed and stored his drawings and illustrations.
Already normalized by COVID-19 “shelter in place” conditions that were prompted by the pandemic, housed and unhoused San Franciscans alike found themselves beset by a curfew that Mayor London Breed imposed on City residents for five nights from May 31 through June 4.
Through demonstrations and vocal outcry, community members rebuked the City’s response to nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd and countless African Americans slain by police officers as part of the nation’s systemic and social racism.
On Friday afternoon several dozen people gathered outside the unassuming Palms Motel in Oakland, CA with signs reading “Housing is a Human Right” and “Hotels Not Graves.” Inside, Stefani Echeverría-Fenn, an adjunct classics lecturer who herself was formerly homeless and has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years, has chained herself in the bathroom of a small room. She has been demanding that the City of Oakland offer hotel rooms where she has helped set up for her unhoused neighbors at the intentional encampment at 37th Street and Martin Luther King,
by Keith McHenry
“This cause is a great cause and we’re tired of being treated like dirt. We’re not, we’re human beings. We bleed just like you and we’re good people. We need a safe place and this is a safe place right here.” – Deseire Quintero
Volunteers with Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs wait outside what had been a large homeless camp that welcomed visitors for over one half year.