Evicted from your un-home?
As Mark Pritchard noted in his entry We’re Rich, social service workers have begun sweeping Golden Gate Park and informing the “inhabitants” there that they must move on. The SF Gate reports today that this endeavor is “part of a new push by Mayor Gavin Newsom to make Golden Gate Park more like New York’s Central Park, with its immaculate opens spaces and low crime rate. The endeavor is the latest development in Newsom’s attempt to tackle San Francisco’s homeless problem, which began with his Care Not Cash homeless-welfare reform initiative before he became mayor.”
I wonder, though, how is this tackling the homeless issue? It reminds me of living in Seattle when the city leaders would push the homeless and drug addicts from one part of the city to another in a sort of underclass game of musical chairs. No problems were solved, just relocated.
I work downtown where we have no shortage of homeless. One particular gentleman often catches my eye. He wears a blanket, is covered in grime, and often stands outside the Starbucks near Second and Mission. His pose is reminiscent of Jesus; he is obviously mad. And I want to know why someone, some organization does not help him. In this city of million dollar flats and billionaire venture capitalists, can we not take care of the most helpless among us? Or do we need this scapegoat? Is there another agenda at work?
And, should I find it odd that the SF Gate chose to highlight this in its photos?
Are drugs (and stolen bikes also pictured in the story) the motivation for moving these people out of the park? Or, is this a convenient reason to grasp hold of?
These men and women will have to go someplace. Simply asking (telling) them to leave the park won’t make homelessness go away. It will displace it, and we may yet have our Central Park West. But, when people begin camping out on Union Street or curled up in the doorway of Whole Foods, we may have to rethink our methods for dealing with this issue.