Friday, October 04, 2013

San Francisco's Human Flotsam



San Francisco has always been home to drunks, drug addicts, and mentally insane people acting out in public, but lately they seem to be proliferating like mushrooms after a spring rain.



Yesterday afternoon a man was passed out in front of my apartment building at Franklin and McAllister, so the building manager called the paramedics. They checked that the person didn't require emergency assistance and then draped him with the yellow tarp above, telling the manager that somebody from homeless services would be by to pick him up. An hour later, somebody did just that.



As housing prices skyrocket in San Francisco, the only people who seem to be living here anymore are the wealthy, the well-compensated who pay too much for rent, the old-timers who bought a house or have a rent-controlled apartment, and the mushrooming underclass who are living off a network of public agencies. The situation is unsustainable and seems to be getting worse daily.

7 comments:

John Marcher said...

Agreed, Mike. Not only are there more people like that guy on your doorstep, but my neighbors and I notice the behavior in the streets has become noticeably more agressive lately- more fights, more screaming, more deals going bad leading to altercations. Something's definitely changed lately. Maybe a new strain of drugs has hit the streets?

Michael Strickland said...

Dear JM: "A new strain of drugs" is an interesting theory. There's also a sense of complete abandonment by the SFPD right now, not just in the Tenderloin and Civic Center but downtown in the Financial District too. Aggressive panhandlers and outright schizophrenics used to be kept out of the FiDi during working hours, but I've noticed a distinct change since last working in the neighborhood a year ago. The crazies are wandering around these days with complete abandon, acting out in whatever way they feel like and the police/support services are nowhere to be seen. I guess you need to be playing chess on Market Street to be seen as a threat.

John Marcher said...

Yes, the Financial District is now part of the territory. The same woman squats in front of 333 Market everyday, while in the little plaza behind it a schizophrenic spends a good part of each day pulling imaginary creatures out of his hair and shouting obcenities at no one in particular.

I've even seen one the more famously drugged out and scary trans hooker from the TL at the corner of 2nd and Market in the morning a few times, though for the life of me I can't figure out what she's looking for at that time of day that wouldn't be easier to find at her former location circling Post and Larkin.

Hattie said...

It's not just in S.f. It's everywhere.

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Hattie: Good point, though the manifestations in San Francisco tend to be a bit more exaggerated than most places.

janinsanfran said...

More in the streets of the Mission too. It's the housing costs, trickling down to pushing the least functional out altogether. That's what we get for being a bedroom community for Silicon Valley.

DbV said...

I really believe in times this tense that the most sensitive fall first. I'm not crazy but I feel like circumstances in our country easily lead to feeling crazy and hopeless. Our government seems entirely hell-bent on ignoring ordinary people. A part of me wonders if there doesn't need to be a great upheaval to ever begin to change anything. Trick is to survive such an upheaval. I also agree with Hattie, that it's everywhere but that SF does show our fringes in highlight. I also don't think it's a matter of "if" something happens next, but "what now," as we are in the midst of a collapse we won't recognize until after the fact.