San Francisco and Seattle: A tale of two cities mired in a homeless crisis

KOMO | 7/23/2019 | Staff
lhumara (Posted by) Level 3
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San Francisco and Seattle share many common threads. Both are politically progressive cities mired in a homeless crisis flanked by a growing unsheltered population experiencing drug addiction and mental illness.

Each city is looking at the other for solutions.

Leadership - City - Plan - Number - Homeless

The leadership of each city is has been criticized for not having a plan that works, for not reducing the number of unsheltered homeless, for not getting people into housing, not getting people into drug abuse and mental illness treatment and all without breaking the bank.

Despite increased incremental spending of tens of millions of dollars each year, San Francisco leaders were shocked when results of this year’s one night count of the city’s homeless went up 30 percent from just 2 years ago.

City - Population - City - Seattle - Count

The city’s estimated homeless population is 9,784. Of those 5,180 are considered unsheltered. The city of Seattle’s unsheltered count was estimated to be 3,558.

San Francisco will spend $305 million on homeless housing, shelter and services in 2019. Seattle is spending roughly $90 million. Behavior, mental health and drug treatment services are not included in these totals.

Money - Street - Level

But how well is that money being spent at the street level?

We visited the Tenderloin, a 30-block neighborhood in the center of San Francisco where the convergence of homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness is most visible.

Half - City - Homeless - Tenderloin - Area

Nearly half of city’s sheltered and unsheltered homeless are concentrated around the Tenderloin and in an area known as South of Market.

It’s where Brandon Deerfield, originally from Monroe, Wash., now calls home.

Drug - Use - Madness - Brandon - Streets

“This is just homelessness, drug use and all its madness,” says Brandon, who now lives on the streets of the Tenderloin. He used to be homeless on the streets of Seattle and offers a unique perspective.

“I'd say it’s more chaotic here. Drugs, it’s easier to get them here, than there," he says.


He is a heroin addict but recently switched...
(Excerpt) Read more at: KOMO
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