Community in Crisis

San Francisco residents react to homelessness crisis

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – This week, KRON4 will be hosting a debate between the four main candidates running for the job of San Francisco District Attorney.

We will be focusing on some of the biggest issues the city is facing.

First, we take a look at what some would argue is San Francisco’s biggest heartache: homelessness.

“Honestly, it’s kind of shocking I’ve lived in San Francisco for about 40 years now and I don’t recollect it ever being quite so bad,” Raymond Larrett said.

People who live and work in San Francisco find themselves confronting the grim reality homelessness every day.

“Everywhere you look, the are people camped out and it’s just truly heartbreaking,” Larrett said. 

The numbers confirm the ever-growing scope of the problem.

We learned earlier this year that the population of unhoused city dwellers has increased 17-percent since 2017, when you look at those living on the streets, in vehicles and in temporary shelters.

When you also count those in hospitals, jails and rehab centers, it’s closer to a 30 percent spike.

The mayor’s office says they’ve made inroads adding hundreds of new shelter beds with the goal of hitting 1,000 new beds by the end of the year, putting more cops on foot patrol and working on reforming the mental health system.

Despite spending hundreds of millions every year to try and solve the crisis, it remains stubbornly pervasive.

For some, it’s merely an unpleasant reality of city living.

“They do camp out, they put tents, sometimes they ask for money and if you say no they get upset,” Johnny Lopez said. 

But others say the erratic behavior they are seeing on the street is eroding their feelings of security.

“Being alone as a woman, unsafe at night yeah you just don’t know what people could be taking what they’re into they might attack you don’t know,” Alisha Evans said. 

“I will not have a child in this city when it comes to that point my husband and I will move out,” Annie McIntee said.

Many have come up with solutions to try and combat the homeless crisis.

So far, San Franciscans are waiting for one to stick.

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