News & Politics

Homelessness Jumps 300 Percent In One San Francisco Neighborhood as the Coronavirus Shutdown Takes Its Toll

A man looks toward the skyline from Bernal Heights Hill in San Francisco, Monday, March 16, 2020. Officials in six San Francisco Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place mandate Monday affecting nearly 7 million people, including the city of San Francisco itself. The order says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district is suffering such a spike in homelessness that residents are suing the city to try and force it to do something.

San Francisco is being sued by a law school and residents and businesses in the inner-city Tenderloin District who argue sidewalks are “unsanitary, unsafe, and often impassable” as homeless people crowd streets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of tents and makeshift structures in the Tenderloin has tripled since January, as homeless shelters are forced to operate at low capacity in order to enforce stringent social distancing requirements, reports say.

The federal lawsuit, filed last week in part by the University of California Hastings College of Law, does not seek financial damages but instead demands the city clean up streets littered with drug needles and human waste.

Homeless shelters are having to enforce social distancing, which is surely sending some to camp in the streets. Before the Wuhan virus struck, permissive camping policies had already made camping and all the messes and threats to health that go with it a permanent feature of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Austin just to name a few.

And unemployment has surely put some of these new homeless on the streets. The city has come up with a typical liberal plan, which doesn’t actually do much to address the real problem. Hence the lawsuit.

This is all part of the toll of shutting the economy down. California’s unemployment rate may hit 18%. The best way to address the real problem would be to allow people to work again with some reasonable and effective distancing and other measures in place. Shutting the world down has put an unsustainable number of Americans out of work and their jobs may not come back even after economies reopen.

But California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom is a lockdown enthusiast. So much so that former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is taking him to task for it.

Dennis Prager recently asked if the shutdown is the worst mistake in history. History is replete with catastrophic mistakes, but the shutdown is looking a dead certainty to be the worst mistake of the 21st century by some distance.

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