San Francisco lawmakers, homeless advocates react to State of the State address

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Reaction to Governor Gavin Newsom’s State of the State address has been mostly positive, however, there are some who feel he has not gone far enough.

“I’m happy he devoted so much time and attention, and we need every state resource, piece of land, staffing that they can provide,” Supervisor Matt Haney said.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney, who championed a navigation center on the Embarcadero and has called for shelters or services in all districts, says the governor’s focus on homelessness during his state of the state speech is more than welcome.

“We have over 8,000 sleeping on the streets in San Francisco. If the state has shelter and treatment facilities available, anything to get people inside and get them help we are facing a crisis like we have never seen,” Haney said.

The governor also called on state lawmakers to make it easier for local authorities to force the mentally ill into treatment.

“Anything he can do alleviate those bottlenecks that force SF to push people out of on the street who need to be inside for treatment is welcome,” Haney said.

“Just saying make it easier to lock people up is hoodwinking people into believing there is an easy solution when there is not,” Jennifer Friedenbach said.

Jennifer Friedenbach with San Francisco’s Coalition on homelessness was less pleased with the governor’s speech, especially as it concerns lowering the threshold for conservatorships.

“Instead of saying we know what caused this, we will invest to make sure people have access to treatment we will just pass a law to make it easier to lock people up. The standards are not the problem, the problem is the state doesn’t take responsibility for people through the conservatorship court when they don’t have anywhere to place people and they don’t,” Friedenbach said.

Friedenbach says there are simply not enough facilities in the community where those with mental illness can live, she says that’s where the investment needs to go.

“We need a massive investment to build up our mental health system and that will get us to a place where we don’t have thousands of people on our streets with untreated mental illnesses,” Friedenbach said.

Friedenbach is also concerned there may be too much emphasis on sheltering as opposed to where she thinks the emphasis should be which is on permanent supportive housing.

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