You would think that homelessness in San Francisco would have improved dramatically given that the money spent to combat homelessness increased from $241 million last year to $275 million this year. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee even formed the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to focus on the homelessness issue. However, Public Works cleanup crews, who are in charge of cleaning the streets and camps, have been busier than ever picking up over 679 tons of trash from homeless tent camps and collecting over 100,000 used syringes from the camps last month. Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru states,
We feel like we’re a maid service. We clean, we come back. We clean, we come back. The real question is, ‘Are we getting anywhere?’ We don’t want to just continue going around in circles.
The homeless count in January, which is conducted every two years to receive federal funds, found that there was a slight decrease in the amount of homeless people, with fewer families and youths among the homeless, but the number of single adults living in the streets has increased. The waiting list for nighttime shelter beds has increased from less 900 last year to about 1,100 so far this year. The complaints to the city’s 311 line regarding tent encampments, needles, and human feces have increased fivefold from the 22,608 complaints made last year. So far this past year, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has opened 303 units of permanent supportive housing and more are planned to help with the homelessness issue. Some sort of solution is needed to alleviate the homelessness issue, rather than just increasing spending and believing that more money is the solution.