Report: SF Tent Encampments Down 37% Since Pandemic Peak

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Image: Teezeh via Flickr

It’s still going to break your heart every time you see tents of people living on the street during the pandemic, but a new set of raw numbers shows that the Safe Sleeping Villages have been a pretty remarkable success. Mission Local reports on a new analysis buy the city’s Healthy Streets Operations Center that shows a 37% drop in the number of tents on San Francisco sidewalks since the April pandemic peak.

This is not just some city department making up numbers to try and look good, the center has been honestly reporting numbers that were pretty terrible for years. And April 2020 was some of the worst tent data the city had ever seen, with more than 1,100 tents out in places we’d never seen them before.

But by October, the tent count is down to just 703, representing a drop of nearly 40%. That has to be at least partially a result of the Safe Sleeping Villages alternative, and likely a reason SF has maintained a decreasing COVID-19 case count.

The numbers are definitely getting better, but it’s not close to good enough,” Healthy Streets Operations Center manager Jeff Kositsky told Mission Local. “This is a step in what will be a long process of improving conditions on the street during the pandemic.” 

And the situation is still awful, as seen in the map above. Notably, there are twice as many vehicles serving as dwellings than there were in April, so we still have a lot of work to do.

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.