Last week, it was reported that a San Francisco business owner was caught on camera spraying a homeless woman with a hose and telling her to move from where she was currently sitting.
The footage is disgusting and absolutely heartbreaking. Without proper solutions being proposed to address the high rates of homelessness in the United States, I can’t say I didn’t see the mistreatment of homeless persons coming.
I remember taking a school trip to San Francisco back in 2017 where I got to witness the homelessness epidemic firsthand. As I’m stepping off the bus and the first thing I see on the street are used heroin needles and a homeless man peeing himself.
Our teachers quickly moved us down the street, but it didn’t prevent us from seeing countless other homeless people. Being from the East Coast, I had heard countless rumors and stereotypes about how dirty cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are and that homeless people have made the sidewalks their home.
These rumors turned out to be true rather than a stereotype. It wasn't simply a problem in San Francisco, we also went to Malibu, Los Angeles, and Stanford, all of which were heavily populated with homeless people.
What I saw in California in 2017 has only worsened significantly, especially in the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. In San Francisco, there were 7,754 people in total experiencing homelessness whether they were sheltered or unsheltered, almost a 1000 increase from 2017 according to the city’s performance score.
Business owners have become increasingly more frustrated with the homeless, especially in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco where the problem is most prevalent.
It is estimated that San Francisco had over eight thousand homeless people in 2022 and with in-action from the local government, many business owners began threatening not to pay their taxes.
An association of business owners wrote a letter to San Francisco officials demanding that they do something about the homeless rates in Castro. They state, “Our community is struggling to recover from lost business revenue, from burglaries and never-ending vandalism/graffiti (often committed by unhoused persons) and we implore you to take action.”
The business owners were frustrated with what they viewed as the result of years of lenient policies against homelessness as well as the rising cost of living.
San Francisco was ranked as the second most expensive American city in 2022 with the average monthly housing being around twenty-five hundred dollars and the average income becoming over six figures.
Some of the laws the Castro business owners specifically mentioned was a bill designated to provide safe drug usage for drug addicts. Governor Gavin Newsom explained in a statement, “I am acutely concerned about operations of safe injection sites without strong, engaged local leadership and well-documented, vetted and thoughtful operational and sustainability plans.”
Others have been skeptical about such harm-reduction taxes, including the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed. She initially favored the drug sites but changed her mind after it caused addicts from miles to flood the city to do drugs in broad daylight.
In addition to the homelessness problem frustrating business owners, it has also caused crime to rise significantly in the city. All offenses, except for murder, increased from August, 2021 to August, 2022.
What concerns me the most about the homelessness epidemic is not what we have already seen but what can happen in the future if we do not find a solution. Homeless people are vulnerable due to being unhoused. Many are veterans and/or suffer from mental health issues.
Politicians need to prioritize programs that will help them to recover and to avoid the dehumanizing acts they face. It was terrifying to see how casually the business owner could stand there and spray the lady while she was still crying out for help.
I can understand where his anger was coming from, being a business owner in one of the most expensive cities is a stressful experience and when you feel like the government is not properly assisting you with such a burden, you become desperate. While the stresses of maintaining a business is no excuse for treating another human so inhumanely, it is only so far you can push someone until they snap.
There are countless examples throughout History to prove this point, and what I fear that if America doesn’t get its act together, we could see one of the worst examples play out right in front of our eyes.
Currently, the housing crisis is showing no signs of slowing down and the country is trillions of dollars in debt. If our debt comes due, we will go bankrupt and experience a period similar to the Great Depression.
The government simply cannot provide for millions upon millions of homeless Americans. It can inevitably lead to harsh policies, such as the government simply refusing to help millions of people or maybe even deportations of people who are not seen as helpful in rebuilding the American economy.
In order to make sure nothing like this happens, I recommend the government do two things immediately:
1. Drastically decrease the spending on military and foreign aid.
2. Invest in large-scale public housing.
We must first get these homeless people off the streets and ensure they receive adequate care. It’s time the American government accepts that its current hegemonic power will not last and another country will eventually take its place.
Next, the government must come together and figure out a temporary fix to the debt ceiling and then find a way to spot spending money immediately and begin paying back the debt.
If we cut our current military spending, which is over eight hundred billion in half there will be no need to print any more money
A December report showed that it would cost about eight billion dollars to permanently solve homelessness in California over twelve years. Let’s say hypothetically that all fifty states need that same amount of money. That would mean we need to spend four hundred billion over twelve years to fix homelessness in America permanently.
It’s time that the government finally put the American people first and take care of this homelessness problem. If we truly are the greatest country on Earth, we should have this problem solved in less than two decades.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in