A Direction Home: What we need to understand to create more exits from homelessness
Join our panel of experts at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 12/17, to learn more about local and national efforts to end homelessness in the context of COVID-19 and the winter season.
I recently saw a bus stop billboard that read: “The more you understand her world, the more possibilities you see.”
The billboard promoted early screening for autism by asking the reader to consider the perspective of a child with autism. But, the same sentiment applies to addressing homelessness: it is at the individual level, when you understand the wisdom and passion of people who have experienced homelessness, that you grasp the urgency necessary to confront this decades-old challenge.
Residents who have experienced homelessness will tell you that they cannot wait for us to design a perfectly efficient homelessness response system; that waiting compounds the issues that led to homelessness in the first instance.
“At All In, we believe that our work as San Franciscans involves understanding homelessness, in all its complexities, and advocating to enlarge the solution space until it is big enough to fully address the challenge. “
-Chris Block, Chronic Homelessness Initiative Director
Playing Our Part: Insisting on Urgent Action
Year after year, San Franciscans cite homelessness as one of their top concerns. Yet, many San Franciscans struggle to understand why homelessness persists, and even more are at a loss as to what we need to do to end it. That is partly because accurate and up-to-date information is, seemingly by design, hard to come by.
By contrast, today, you can go to the SF Department of Public Health website and find out how many new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past 24 hours. There is no equivalent place to turn to find out how many people entered homelessness or were housed this month, let alone in the past 24 hours. Instead, it feels like we have to wait for the every-other-year PIT Count to see how the City is faring with respect to homelessness.
That is not the pathway to the success that we all want to see in San Francisco. I am confident that we can be successful, but I am certain that we won’t be if we don’t fully understand the scope of the problem we face.
At All In, we believe that our work as San Franciscans involves understanding homelessness, in all its complexities, and advocating to enlarge the solution space until it is big enough to fully address the challenge.
That is why we are very excited to host an unique opportunity for you to build that understanding: a webinar on December 17 @ 10 a.m. PT. Our conversation with a panel of housing and homelessness experts will look at homelessness at the national and hyper-local level in the context of COVID-19 and the winter season. We’ll talk about national and local efforts to support our unhoused neighbors, including plans for the over 2,300 people residing in our Shelter-in-Place hotels, how to address equity in our homelessness response system, and the goals of the newly formed Prop C Committee.
Now is not the time to step back from the challenge of homelessness in San Francisco; it is time to step forward. As we look to 2021, we believe that we are on the cusp of making real progress in San Francisco.
We have the City’s commitment and the resources to create more housing opportunities next year than we have in the past 20 years. If we create these housing placements, the suffering we see on the streets will be vastly reduced and the street conditions significantly improved.
But it will not happen without a committed citizenry – that includes you – that has enough knowledge to advocate for enough of the right solutions at the right time.