In response to the Aug. 3 column by Cal Thomas, “Smelling rats in Baltimore,” which said San Francisco has done nothing to improve homelessness in its neighborhoods, I want to set the record straight on this matter.
San Francisco has spent millions of dollars to address this very issue. It has set up several navigation centers, which are shelters where a certain number of homeless people can live while they are being set up with permanent housing.
While staying at navigation centers, they have access to numerous programs to support them and prepare them to go into permanent housing (social workers, mental health counselors, drug and alcohol abuse counselors, housing facilitators, etc. – all under one roof).
San Francisco also has streamlined the building-permit process so more affordable housing can be built at a faster rate.
A point person has been appointed to coordinate the various homeless programs.
We do have a homeless problem, partially because of skyrocketing rents (at least $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment) due to a huge influx of tech companies with enormous tax breaks who brought a large number of highly paid employees.
Many San Francisco residents lost their housing because landlords saw an opportunity to make a lot of money by raising the rent so high that only the tech workers could afford it. The voters have passed a bill to tax companies making over a certain amount of profit. The money would generate revenue that would be earmarked for homeless programs.
San Francisco, formerly of Johnstown