When Mayor London Breed announced a strict shelter-in-place order on March 16 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, health facilities scrambled to identify ways to safely see patients. For addiction medicine doctors, this presented a particularly difficult challenge: Patients engaged in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction must be seen frequently, often every few days. Regular doctor visits are not just helpful for people’s recovery but until that point had been required by the federal government for the dispensing of certain opioid addiction medications. As doctors across San Francisco switched to telehealth visits — talking to patients over the phone or through video chat — an unexpected shift took place. Missed appointments, a norm before the shelter in place, became rare.
Ellen Lee Zhou has a plan to help end San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. And it could involve you. Zhou, a public-health worker, said that if elected mayor, she would pay homeowners monthly stipends to house and mentor some of the city’s estimated 4,300 unsheltered residents. Interested? Sixth in a series analyzing the mayoral candidates’ records and pledges on housing and homelessness.
San Francisco has begun rolling out a new technology platform that officials say will better help the homeless population by giving priority for shelter and housing to those with the greatest need. But the ONE System also functions as a form of rationing of scarce affordable housing.
City native Victoria Ortiz’s path to homelessness began in the East Bay more than two years ago when she was pregnant, working at a Staples and subletting a room. A housemate stopped forwarding the rent to the landlord, and everyone was evicted. This is the story of her determination to find stable housing for her family while living at a shelter in San Francisco.
Last week on his blog, Beyond Chron, Tenderloin Housing Clinic Executive Director Randy Shaw belatedly referred to my Fall 2017 Public Press cover story about vacancies in single-room occupancy hotels as “extremely misleading” and “false.” I was disappointed, but not surprised. And I am not alone.
San Francisco has the highest percentage of unsheltered youths in the nation — more than 1,200 between 18 and 24 years old, at last count. Host homes could get many off the streets. Would you welcome a homeless youth into your home?
Studies have found that the 1811 Eastlake project in Seattle helps keep alcoholics off the streets and out of jails and emergency rooms — and even helps them drink less.
On the outskirts of Traverse City, Michigan, Dann’s House provides supportive housing to eight alcoholic homeless men. Unlike most housing for the homeless, there’s no expectation that residents will stop drinking, even on-site. But their consumption is down, and their lives improved.
Master leasing of single-room occupancy hotels in San Francisco has housed thousands of homeless people — and done so in hotels that are, by and large, a huge improvement over those of a generation ago. But hings could be better.
San Francisco officials have been skeptical of sanctioning homeless encampments as transitional housing, but local activists note that the model has a long track record in Seattle, Portland and Eugene, Ore.