San Francisco's homelessness quagmire

The San Francisco Chronicle has begun a five-part series on the incredible homeless problem in SF. Thousands of homeless people live on San Francisco's streets, in straits as dire as anything you can imagine in the worst slums of the developing world, amid some of the wealthiest people in the world. It's a crisis that no one seems to know how to solve, and that San Franciscans have, by and large come to accept as an unchangeable fact of life. The first installment, "Homeless Island," is a gripping account of the knot of beggars who live and die on a downtown traffic island, holding up heartbreaking signs and shooting heroin into infected veins, waiting to die from flesh-eating bacteria. It's like a tour of hell.

"Day clinics? Jail? You think anyone out here on the street, all over this city, can stick with that?" Tommy said weeks before he died. "Why the hell do you think we're out here? Because we can't get over what's going on with us by ourselves, that's why.

"We want to get off the street, but I got to tell you true," he said. "Unless they take people like us and put us somewhere where we can't keep f — ing up, we're going to keep f — ing up."


(via Nelson's Weblog)