Even before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Los Angeles County, more than 66,000 of its residents were experiencing homelessness, and almost 600,000 low-income people were spending 90 per cent of their income on housing. The city ranked near the top of the list of places where renters experienced the highest cost burdens. And the state of California had one of the worst shortages of affordable housing in the country.
Towing practices have always been a particular plague for poor and homeless people, especially in San Francisco – the city with the nation’s highest towing fees, averaging $574 in the current fiscal year. However, the current pandemic has brought renewed attention to these “poverty tows” and possibly an opportunity to end them.
From mid-March to June 15, people in vehicles experienced some relief when ticketing and non-emergency towing were halted due to the shelter-in-place order,
Near the seven-hour mark of the July 8 meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Appropriations Committee on the San Francisco Police Department budget for the next fiscal year, I realized I simply could not go on. After two long presentations, dozens of questions from supervisors and almost five hours of public comment, the end was not in sight. I was exhausted.
This was, for some organizers, the goal. Many of the over 400 callers used a script,
As San Francisco starts to slowly emerge back into a false sense of normality, I wonder where that will leave the homeless population staying in “shelter In place“ hotels and shelters scattered throughout the city. Before I cover that, I must recollect what events took place to get us here today.
Back in March, everyone was on the fence about just how serious COVID-19 would be. No one could fully grasp then just how long we all would be under shelter in place,
by Tiny of POOR Magazine
“They came by and took our tents, said we had to go and not come back or we would be arrested, you know a sweep” said Johnell, 48 , a black disabled, houseless elder and RoofLESS Radio reporter who lived in a tent at Larkin and Mcallisters streets since April when Covid19 struck. Johnell and his wife both got a tent from POOR Magazine’s radical redistribution /RoofLEss radio cru who distributes masks,
“I was afraid when I was diagnosed. Now I encourage others to get tested for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). With daily antiretroviral therapy (ART), I maintain a healthy lifestyle. I haven’t had many side effects and am very thankful that I got tested,” said the woman when talking to her at my former job at Saint Boniface Hospital in Haiti. I still remember her face, beautiful and bright-eyed with a smile so big you would think she owned the world.
I’ve been out on the street and with folks in encampments a bunch lately, but I haven’t really been writing about it. Part of the reason I haven’t been writing is because by the end of the day I’m usually still trying to get through a ton of work or my brain is just complete mush. I’m really behind on emails and returning phone calls, so sorry if you’ve reached out and I haven’t gotten back to you.
While the Tenderloin Plan began to be implemented on Thursday, only 16 people were moved into hotels, a mere 5% of the 300 person goal.
Friday, June 12th — Early Thursday morning, San Francisco’s Health Streets Operation Command (HSOC) arrived in the Tenderloin under the pretense of placing at least 300 of the Tenderloin’s unhoused residents into Shelter-in-Place Hotels. Clutching their lists of names, city workers scrambled down Turk street struggling to locate some of the people on their list that they would be moving into a nearby hotel,
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Erik Salgado was killed and his girlfriend shot in Oakland this past weekend, while last week, San Francisco resident Sean Monterrosa was killed in Vallejo. This month has been a powerful reminder of what happens without police accountability.
Nancy Tung and Geoffrey Gordon-Creed were nominated by Mayor London Breed to fill two seats on the Police Commission. These seats must be approved by the Board of Supervisors;
“We are always the last group that is given considerations during policy-making decisions,” said one formerly homeless man when I interviewed him last year. “Even when the policies are drafted, they often don’t address the root cause of homelessness,” he added. Through my interviews with people affected by homelessness over the years, I have learned to approach my work in public health through a different lens, one in which marginalized communities are at the forefront.