Homeless San Francisco
Homelessness in San Francisco. While not a new problem by any means, it is one that we cannot ignore. This past week, a group of volunteers worked to count SF's homeless population. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that this tally take place so that they can allocate HUD funds accordingly. The volunteers fanned out across the city to count those they saw living on the streets. They were instructed just to tally, not talk or engage with anyone. As one volunteer responded when a couple living in the entry way of a closed up business asked if they were there to help, "No, we're here to count."
While it is important to get an accurate tally of those living on the streets, I can't help but feel a sense of dehumanization when it comes to dealing with the homeless. Often, they are not seen as individuals, and most importantly as human beings who once had aspirations just like us. The notion that these are people who have either substance abuse problems or are mentally ill is a stereotype that definitely does not apply to all homeless people. Some are homeless to due situations beyond their control, such as loss of jobs. I think that it is important to approach the problem of homeless from the perspective of rehabilitation rather than trying to capture the most federal dollars.