Homeless = without a home


This morning on Forum Michael Krasny hosted Jennifer Friedenbach from the Coalition on Homelessness and CW Nevius, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, discussing the homeless sweeps in SoMa and the vitriol stirred up by the Chron's coverage of life on the streets by pointing at the shit, the needles, the trash, the insanity.

Near the end of the piece, Nevius says that using the cops to ticket homeless people who do these things is one solution and a way to hold them accountable. He said he doesn't know how to solve the overall issue of homelessness. In the background, you can hear Friedenbach simply say, "Housing."

Which is the whole frustrating disconnect on this issue. "Homeless" does not automatically translate into "criminal," or "insane," or "druggie," or "lover of shitting on the street." Nobody wants to see people sleeping in the streets, using drugs, defecating, or publicly displaying their individual psychotic problems. So give them a place to live. Don't buy cops, buy housing. Let people do what they need to do behind closed doors.

One caller mentioned new housing developments at 5th and Mission and how none of the buyers of the million dollar condos are going to want to see the streets outside their doors in such a condition. Again, another major disconnect -- developers want attractive neighborhoods, but when it comes to building affordable housing that might make those neighborhoods more attractive by housing the homeless, they run away screaming that it can't be done.