Helping the Homeless Doesn’t Mean Anything Goes on San Francisco’s Streets

By Scott Wiener

Homelessness and street behavior are eternal issues in San Francisco, on par with Muni’s ups and downs and the perpetual and real anxiety around housing costs. I use the terms “homeless” and “street behavior” separately because, while there’s overlap, they aren’t the same thing. We see plenty of awful street behavior by people who aren’t homeless, and there are many homeless people we never, ever see on our streets, who don’t cause problems for anyone, and who would never engage in the anti-social street behavior so common in our city. It’s important not to broad-brush or stereotype homeless people and to instead focus on providing people with the support they need to succeed while at the same time having zero tolerance for awful behavior by some people — whether or not they are homeless — on our streets.

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Update: I was recently on KQED's Forum where the discussion continued. You can listen to the conversation here.


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