“Sheltering in place” is a privilege that over 9,000 unhoused San Franciscans do not enjoy. Yet, shelters are congregate environments where people sleep barely more than two feet away from one another, head to foot or top to bottom in bunks.
It’s time to rethink eviction policies in light of the coronavirus crisis, says author Matthew Desmond, who has been tracking eviction moratoriums, utility cutoff bans and other renter protections during the pandemic.
For advocates and those in the nonprofit sector racing to meet these needs, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the extent to which unhoused people rely on an informal safety net of nonprofits, advocates, and volunteers to survive.
On Thursday evening, protestors staged a die-in outside San Francisco Mayor London Breed's Lower Haight home. Organizers say the action was in protest of Breed's slow action to move unsheltered people into hotels.
Many will not remember this, but before the early 1980s, there weren't millions of homeless people in the United States. Contemporary homelessness was created by a federal government response to what was, at the time, considered a short-term economic crisis.
JoJo doesn’t always consider herself homeless. The twenty-nine-year-old prefers to live outside of that label. “I consider myself a part of this community,” she said. “Even though I am homeless, San Francisco is my home.” Born and raised in Eastern Washington, Jojo was drawn to the Bay Area for the culture and the promise of the hippie dream. “San Francisco is known worldwide as the place you come to put flowers in your hair,” she said, smiling. “I like to think it still is.”
Jojo lies in a San Francisco park. (Emma Arnesty Good)
Jojo didn’t want her full name published, or the name of her hometown. She described it as somewhere between Seattle and Pullman, WA. “Twenty minutes north of the Oregon Border,” she said. Jojo’s relationship with her family is complicated. “I don’t want them to