Homelessness in San Francisco


    In San Francisco, homelessness is a major issue that takes place all over the city with between 8,000 and 15,000 people living on the streets at any given time. The roots of homelessness stem from a bad economy, mental illness, domestic violence and substance abuse just to name a few. Homelessness is increasing more and more because of the failing economy.

    There are about 35,000 homeless people in the Bay Area at any given time. (San Francisco Homeless Services Coalition) In the Bay Area 30-40% of the homeless are families. (Association of Bay Area Governments) This means about 12,250 people are homeless with their family at any given time. In the San Francisco school district 1,623 student are homeless. (San Francisco Unified School District)

   San Francisco may have more homeless people then other cities, but part of the reason it seems like that is because they just do not force them out of site so they are more visible (San Francisco Demographics). Homelessness is more visible in San Francisco than many other cities because the police do not use as many heavy-handed tactics to drive them out of site as are employed elsewhere (Noy). Political liberals and moderates think that homelessness is caused by a systemic failure of the economy, housing health care and substance abuse programs. They also believe that punitive programs won’t stop homelessness and that programs that do help are under funded. On the other hand, conservative people believe homeless should be punished.  They see homeless people as personally deficient and believe that they are bringing down the quality of life for the rest of society. The one thing that both liberals and conservatives agree about is that supportive housing models work because they provide a shelter for the homeless.