From the Office of
the Mayor: San Francisco Conducts Bi-annual Count of Homeless Population
From the San
Fewer homeless people on streets of San Francisco — 28% drop since fall of
'02, but other counties report higher numbers
of Homeless People in San Francisco
Coalition on Homelessness
Prada, Chance Martin (415-346-3740)
February 14, 2005. San Francisco –
office released a count of homeless people today, claiming a 42% decrease
in the street count, and the overall number of homeless people in the City
dropping from 8,640 to 5,642. Homeless advocates are up in arms, as this
number is impossibly low.
low number is either politically motivated or a result of gross
incompetence.” According to Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on
Homelessness, “There is a lot of pressure on the Mayor to demonstrate
success in solving homelessness, and to say this number exaggerates that
success would be an understatement.”
The Coalition on
Homelessness sent volunteers on the street count to observe the
undertaking. Our reports state volunteers were instructed not to enter
parks, not to talk to people, nor to enter abandoned buildings.
(Supposedly, Red and Park staff counted homeless people in the morning but
this could not be verified.) There were many neighborhoods that were not
covered. In addition, it was raining, which makes it particularly
difficult to count homeless people.
The City is able to
account for part of the decrease in the numbers of homeless people,
through housing several hundred homeless welfare recipients, but this
accounts for only a portion of the 1,880 decrease in homeless street count
numbers. Homeless advocates find this discrepancy troubling.
The Department of
Human Services is also claiming great victory — more than 73% decrease in
the single adult homeless welfare caseload. However, they have no
documentation regarding what happened to the homeless people when they
left welfare. The Department of Human Services is making baseless
assumptions that homeless people left town.
The Coalition on
Homelessness conducted a comprehensive analysis of Care Not Cash, based on
data gathering from the Department of Human Services and interviews with
homeless people and service providers. We found mixed results. While there
was success in getting some homeless people housed, other homeless welfare
recipients reported increased hunger and non-welfare recipients reported
displacement from stable shelter as a result of Care not Cash.