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Saturday, July 20, 2024

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HousingHomelessnessBreed ready to criminalize people for lacking a place to live

Breed ready to criminalize people for lacking a place to live

Mayor tells supes that 'we will not allow people to just remain.'

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Mayor London Breed said today that the city will soon begin criminalizing homelessness thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision.

In remarks to the supervisors during Question Time, Breed made clear that the Grants Pass decision gives her the right to order the police to issue citations to people who sleep on the streets.

“The penalties will be progressive,” she said. “We will not continue to allow people to just remain. We will be clear and firm.”

Breed says it’s a crime to be poor and living on the streets.

Breed said that the city would continue to use outreach workers with offers of shelter. She did not acknowledge that the city has far too few shelter beds for the current unhoused population; she just said that 60 percent of people who are offered shelter decline.

There are, of course, a lot of reasons for that: Shelters have limited storage space, so people with possessions have to give them up. They don’t allow couples or pets. And some people have had issues with violence in the shelters.

But that doesn’t matter, Breed said: “Those complications are not excuses for living on our streets.”

The “excuse” for living on the streets is poverty, economic inequality, and a lack of affordable housing. I’m not sure exactly where she expects people to go.

Citations to people who have no money make no sense; they can’t pay, and if that escalates to warrants, the city will be putting people in jail for the crime of being unhoused.

Oh, and there’s no room in the jails, which are packed with people arrested for being high.

But this is Mayor Breed’s San Francisco in 2024.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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