Hey Ed Lee, Don’t be a Jerk! Sign the State of Emergency on Homelessness!
Of all the bullshit that Ed Lee will remembered for, his handling of San Francisco’s homelessness crisis will have a place of honor in the annals of bullshittery.
Homelessness has been steadily getting worse citywide and in some neighborhoods, like SOMA and The Mission, it has reached public health crisis levels.
The Mayor’s genius plan has been to roust homeless people out of our parks and from underneath freeways and push them directly in to residential neighborhoods. Left without toilets or a safe places to sleep, homeless people are forced to use the doorways and sidewalks of our neighborhoods which causes health and safety concerns for everyone.
The Mayor’s round up of homeless people to hide them during the Super Bowl lead to a mile long tent encampment on Division Street called “Leeville” by the neighbors. Last week’s sweeps of Division streets lead in turn to smaller encampments popping up all over The Mission.
Ed Lee’s fucked up game of wack-o-mole with the city’s unhoused population seems to do pretty much nothing but terrorize homeless people and force the residents of the South Eastern neighborhoods to deal with sick and hungry people.
On Tuesday David Campos, the Supervisor for The Misssion, had enough. Standing with Jennifer Friedenbach from the Coalition on Homelessness and Mayor Lees’s former Homeless Czar Beven Dufty. He introduced legislation that calls for a State of Emergency on homelessness.
The declaration of emergency does three things:
First, it escalates our world infamous homeless crisis to the level of cities like Seattle, LA, and Oakland – who’s Mayors have already called for states of emergency – and allows us to make a strong case for additional federal and state funding.
Second, it allows the city to cut through red tape to use city owned land to build temporary but highly effective Navigation Centers. Navigation centers are a type of pop-up shelter that’s built on unused land, like parking lots and future construction sites. They’re successful because they treat homeless people like adults and remove some of the strict rules that traditional shelters, which are often run by religious organization, have in place. A Navigation Center will allow couples to stay together, let you keep your dog, not make you throw away your belonging, or let you be transgender – many traditional shelters won’t.
And the third thing a state of emergency does, and this is the most important, is it tells the people of San Francisco that you are taking this shit seriously. This is a crisis! Now get off your ass and act like it!
It seems like everyone on the ground agrees. Other homeless advocates like Amy Farah Weiss of the Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge have been calling for a state of emergency, as seen in this video, for awhile now as well.
Ed Lee, in a show of true smugness, responded to the call for a State of Emergency by defending his sweeps of the homeless and saying that Campos and the six other supervisors who had signed on we’re grandstanding.
Are you fucking serious?!
Does he thinks that the thousands of people who are begging their supervisors for action are grandstanding too? Mayor Lee is so out of touch with what is happening in his city that he doesn’t think we need more federal funding and additional resources. I think it’s the job of his constituents to let him know otherwise.
So today I’m announcing the #EdLeeItsAnEmergency hash tag to help educate our out of touch Mayor on the real crisis that we deal with everyday in San Francisco.
Please share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram the stories and photos of your struggles with homelessness and the homelessness crisis. Let’s make the Mayor take this crisis seriously and sign the deceleration of a State of Emergency on Homelessness. We’ll share the best stories and photos with all of you next week.