San Francisco’s Homeless Voice Complaints About City’s Shelter System

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco’s homeless and their advocates packed the Board of Supervisors chambers on Thursday to complain about a shortage of shelter beds in the city.

Specifically, they claim the shelter system is, in essence, broken – as evidenced by the long waits and a lack of beds, among other problems.

No formal action came of the hearing, but for the dozens of people who spoke – almost all of them homeless – it was a chance to vent about things like having to travel from shelter to shelter in the hopes that a bed might be available on any given night.

“Some people can’t walk. Some people, they’re hungry, they’re tired, they’re depleted and they’re waiting. And some of them don’t get a bed, and it’s so sad, you should see their faces,” lamented one woman who addressed the supervisors.

There were also complaints about shelter conditions and staff.

“We are homeless and they want to treat you like animals. That’s the one thing that really needs to stop,” one man declared.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • davidvsgoliathproductions

    Why does the City of SF allow its employees to treat people so badly? Abuse, verbal or otherwise, should not be tolerated. They need to have a home person bill of rights posted at the shelters, a student bill of rights posted at CCSF, and a library user bill of rights posted at the libraries.

  • mike

    Here is the whole truth…not just the selected edit

    On April 5, 2012, the Coalition on Homelessness organized an incredibly successful public hearing on San Francisco’s shelter access. Over 50 people signed up to speak, the overwhelming majority of whom were people currently experiencing the housing crisis. Seniors, disabled people, houseless activists, members of the LGBT community, women, and more stood bravely to talk about how they were spending between 8 hours and 17 hours a day simply trying to find a place to lie their head.

    The issue at hand is San Francisco’s byzantine shelter reservation system which is unnecessarily confusing, difficult to navigate, and an inequitable maze that routinely denies people use of even vacant shelter beds.
    The shelter reservation system requires multiple long lines at different times of the day. Homeless people often spend more then 8 hours a day waiting in line for shelter, to either get turned away or to receive a bed for one night – only to have to repeat the process over again the next day.

    People with disabilities are stuck in the runaround and cannot access most beds, even though they comprise more than half of the population.

    Every Supervisor on the Rules committee, in front of which the hearing took place commented on the need for change to this system. Shelter seekers covered a myriad of issues including problems with transportation, multiple lines and the difficulty in doing anything else except search for shelter

    8 to 17 a day…what is Mayor Lee going to do about that?

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