April 27, 2021

NO, IT’S NOT A HOMELESS PROBLEM: San Francisco’s Substance-Abuse Crisis. Governor Gavin Newsom touts Project Roomkey, his hotels-for-the-homeless program, as a model for the rest of the nation, and the program is expanding with funding from the Biden administration. But take a stroll through the city’s Tenderloin, Civic Center, and South of Market neighborhoods:

Block after block, you’ll see thousands of people who are barely alive. Some are alone; others are piled on top of one another, running into traffic, or standing slumped over, unconscious. They’ll be injecting or smoking heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine in front of you, unaware or unfazed by your presence. Scabs cover their faces and bodies, limbs are swollen red and blue, often bloody and oozing pus. You’ll notice the garbage, rotting food, discarded drug detritus, and feces surrounding them. A shocking number are mere teenagers, but many are old or have aged well before their time.

Project Roomkey’s hotels offer no addiction-recovery treatment, and there’s no sobriety requirement. But the hotel residents do get fresh needles.

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