San Francisco officials are reportedly laying groundwork to open homeless villages where bums will have access to food, social workers, and washing stations.
Meanwhile, rampant theft by criminal vagrants is forcing some shops to close their doors for good.
Legislation is being introduced to force the city’s homeless department to erect multiple “safe sleeping villages” within the next 18 months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The legislation could take on more urgency in the coming months as the city winds down its pandemic hotel program for the homeless and begins moving out its 2,000 guests,” the Chronicle reports.
“The goal is to place people into housing, but many may just end up in shelters or safe sleeping villages. Mayor London Breed secured funding for 1,500 units of permanent supportive housing units in the upcoming budget — not enough to meet demand.”
The city has already been operating six ‘safe sleeping’ sites (including one at a middle school) which were hastily organized as shelters reduced their capacity to adhere to ‘social distancing’ policies.
Local residents and business owners have already pushed back against the plans, with six citizens groups sending a letter to City Hall saying a sanctioned homeless village in the Upper Haight neighborhood has caused major problems.
“The behavior and conditions on Haight Street suggest that the (safe sleeping village) is not a success for its unhoused residents, and it’s certainly not a success for residents and merchants in the surrounding area,” the groups said.
Rampant lawlessness in the city has heavily affected retail shops, as bums help themselves to merchandise with few to no consequences under recent California law changes that classify theft involving under $950 of goods as a nonviolent misdemeanor.
Walgreens has announced it is shutting down its seventh store in San Francisco in less than two years.
“After months of seeing its shelves repeatedly cleaned out by brazen shoplifters, the Walgreens at Van Ness and Eddy in San Francisco is getting ready to close,” the Chronicle reports.
The shop will shutter for good by mid-November, according to a Walgreens spokesman.
“All of us knew it was coming. Whenever we go in there, they always have problems with shoplifters,” said Sebastian Luke, a local resident and longtime customer.
“I feel sorry for the clerks, they are regularly being verbally assaulted,” Luke continued. “The clerks say there is nothing they can do. They say Walgreens’ policy is to not get involved. They don’t want anyone getting injured or getting sued, so the guys just keep coming in and taking whatever they want.”
Multiple homeless camps are reportedly located in the immediate vicinity of the store, and vagrants frequently walk in to ‘stock up’ on supplies.
Another Walgreens was reportedly being looted of $1,000 of products per day before it closed down.
According to estimates, there are at least 5,000 homeless people in San Francisco, but likely thousands more.
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