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Since January the Tenderloin area of San Francisco has seen the number of tents and makeshift structures along sidewalks triple as homeless shelters in the area have had to limit the number of residents they could take due to social distancing guidelines
The lawsuit was filed in federal court by University of California Hastings College of Law Dean, David Faigman who is helping to head up the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is not seeking financial damages, but is looking for the city to take responsibility for the homeless population who are at increased risk for the coronavirus. They also want the drug needles and human waste cleaned up
“We are suing because our neighborhood has become a pandemic containment zone. The city has basically cordoned off our area. Tents are blocking the streets. Tents are blocking doorways. There are needles in the streets. There’s open-air drug dealing.”
– David Faigman, chancellor and dean at UC Hastings
The Tenderloin area has an exceptionally vulnerable population as well as a lot of elderly. In addition it has the most children per capita of any neighborhood in San Francisco. Currently there are about 400 tents that occupy the streets.
Mayor London Breed proposed a plan that would require tents be spaced six feet apart and proposed to get the homeless into safe sleeping places. The city would also provide wash stations and restrooms and increase access to services
“I think the plan is entirely inadequate. It essentially institutionalizes the status quo. It simply keeps everybody in place. It is a Band-Aid when a bandage is needed. It was thrown together in response because they knew the lawsuit was coming, but it clearly does not provide a real solution.”
– David Faigman
Mayor Breed has been criticized for her response to the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. Breed ignored emergency legislature from lawmakers that would require her to get 8,000 hotel rooms for the homeless which FEMA would help pay for 75% of the cost.
“I get that everyone wants to see something different. I want to see something different, but we’re not housekeepers, we’re not babysitters, and we’re being treated that way by people who have some challenges in some cases, and some difficulties and some who are just downright defiant.”
– Mayor Breed
As homeless shelters in the area are forced to reduce capacity dramatically there needs to be more done to address this vulnerable population who is more susceptible to this deadly disease
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