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28% Reported Drop In Homeless Population In San Francisco

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Mayor Gavin Newsom is reporting a twenty-eight percent drop in the homeless population from a similar count in 2002. He is crediting the program Care Not Cash which began in May 2004. The program reduced the ridiculous welfare checks to the homeless from $410 a month to $59 a month. The reduction in pay was replaced with either a shelter bed or a permanent room. After implementing the program the number of homeless people on welfare dropped 72 percent.

I find it ridiculous that they were paying homeless people to stay in their city. I find it ridiculous that they're giving them permanent housing as well, but that's just me.

Advocates for the homeless call the study bogus and say they have not seen a dramatic drop in the homeless population. In addition they note surrounding counties have even reported an increase, which they even go so far as to accuse the governor of driving the homeless out of the city in buses.

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco's new figures are based on a one-night homeless count, taken between 8 p.m. Jan. 26 and about 8 a.m. the next morning. It showed the city now has 6,248 homeless people living on the streets or in jails, shelters, rehabilitation centers or other emergency facilities -- a 28 percent decline compared to 8,640 in October 2002, the last time such a count was conducted.

"There are still a lot of homeless people out there, and I'm still seeing some of the same people I've seen for the past 10 years," Newsom said at a news conference to announce the numbers. "But it's time to start focusing on the good things that are happening."

The new figures were met with disbelief from homeless advocates who say they don't square with reality on the streets. And they come at a time when most other counties in the Bay Area expect to report an increase in their homeless populations, leading to speculation that perhaps some homeless people are being driven out of the city by its welfare-slashing Care Not Cash program.

"It's an outrageous undercount, politically motivated," said Jennifer Friedenbach of the San Francisco advocacy group the Coalition on Homelessness. "We've been looking at encampments and visit 15 different sites a week, and the numbers may have dropped a little, but we have not seen as dramatic a drop. "

One city of note with an increase was my old stomping grounds in Santa Clara, which now has 7,000 ex-dot commers walking down the El Camino Real.

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Posted by Digger on February 18, 2005 03:57 AM (Permalink)

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It's been raining.

In spring, I'll be back to stepping over urine-soaked bodies and dodging shopping carts, and I work downtown off Market and Bush.

I applaud the Care Not Cash program, but I'm not convinced it's been implemented.

Posted by: Spear Shaker on February 19, 2005 08:35 AM

"driving the homeless out of the city in buses"

I wish.

Posted by: eh on February 19, 2005 11:26 AM

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