At our November 12th general meeting, HANC once again delivered on its promise to provide information you don’t get anywhere else. Bevan Dufty described how his job as “Homeless Czar” had helped change the way he saw homeless people. He described successes with the Navigation Center, but reminded us that it could only help a small number of the over 7,500 (combined general and supplemental youth count) homeless people in San Francisco. The Navigation Center is a short-term solution, and most have transitioned out and remain housed. Because of its success, the City plans for more Navigation Centers, but has not determined where they will be or how they will be funded.
Jennifer Friedenbach spoke about how police responses to homelessness cannot address the problem. The City Jail has replaced General Hospital as housing the most mentally ill homeless. Even without mental issues, homeless people are stressed about having to do in public--and possibly being cited or arrested—what housed people are able to do privately: sit, sleep, use the bathroom, wash up. Both speakers agreed that Pit Stops (staffed portable toilets, which are moved and cleaned every night) and Lava Mae (staffed portable showers) have been positive steps. Taking It To the Streets has helped some of our “street kids” with housing and employment, and has support from all sides.
HANC members and other neighbors addressed questions to the speakers. Although there were disagreements, dialogue was respectful and constructive. At the end of the discussion, HANC members voted to support a Navigation Center in our neighborhood.
Earlier in the evening, HANC members elected the HANC Board for the next year. The new Board list can be found at www.hanc-sf.org/about-us/board-of-directors.