San Francisco’s homeless hotels have become so filthy and violent that even the homeless are reportedly avoiding them. These hotels, created during the pandemic, were intended to alleviate the city’s homeless problem. However, despite the city paying nonprofit organizations for the maintenance of these buildings, the situation has only worsened.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that around 990 supportive housing units were unoccupied last year, with 60% remaining empty due to a convoluted referral process under Mayor London Breed’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH). The other 40% were deemed uninhabitable due to disrepair, filth, or being sealed shut after someone had died inside. Unfortunately, the nonprofit organizations responsible for maintaining the hotels have reportedly failed to address these issues, causing severe problems in many buildings.
— B N Friendly (@BNFriendly1) April 28, 2023
One homeless individual told the Chronicle, “I’d rather stay in a tent than go to an SRO.” Another tenant described their building as “a toilet.” The horrific conditions have led to housing and health code violations and overdose deaths.
In the first three months of 2023 alone, San Francisco saw a 41% increase in fatal overdoses compared to last year. Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a family and community medicine professor at UCSF, called the increase “an enormous rise” and cited it as evidence of inadequate public policy.
President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, recently announced his plan to address the homelessness crisis. He criticized the current state of American cities and the homeless situation, stating, “There is nothing compassionate about letting these individuals live in filth and squalor rather than getting them the help that they need.”
Trump’s plan involves working with states to ban urban camping and opening large parcels of land to create tent cities with access to medical professionals, social workers, and drug rehab specialists. He argued that this approach would be more cost-effective than housing the homeless in luxury hotels without addressing their underlying issues.
However, Trump did not mention where the funding for his plan would come from. Whether Democrat-run states like California would be receptive to his proposal remains to be seen.
San Francisco’s homeless hotel debacle illustrates the failure of the city’s current approach to the homelessness crisis. With Trump’s plan on the table, the question remains: Will it receive the support it needs to make a real change, or will the cities continue to struggle with the growing homeless population and the issues they face? Time will soon tell.