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70 Media Organizations, Locally and Nationally, are Teaming Up This Week to Discuss SF’s Homeless Crisis

Tuesday June 28, 2016

In an unprecedented media collaboration, nearly 70 organizations have signed on — the SF Chronicle, SF Examiner, Fortune, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Mother Jones, and KQED — to share information and report not only on the causes of homelessness in the Bay Area, but propose solutions as well.

Last month, the SF Chronicle invited media organizations from around the country to collaborate with them on their SF Homeless Project. Their goal is to flood the internet, print, radio, and TV with stories about San Francisco’s homeless crisis on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

Stories have been cropping up since Sunday, and the ones I’ve caught have been illuminating and thought-provoking. It often seems we hold entire conversations about this issue in our living rooms, kitchen tables, and playgrounds, with nary an actual fact looked up or thrown into the fray.

I actually got caught in this last night. A few of us were discussing the homeless situation and is this even new? San Francisco has always been known to have a large homeless population. Are there actually more homeless people now than before? Or are they just more noticeable now? Maybe it’s because they’re not allowed to openly camp out in Golden Gate Park anymore? I heard that was a thing. Is it us? Has San Francisco just become more intolerant?

While we sat around hypothesizing and “I’ve heard that” and “My friend who grew up here said” and “Maybe it’s just that”….San Francisco has been dutifully counting its homeless population every 2 years, using 500 volunteers over the course of one night, and drafting an easy to read report on their findings. It was easily Google-able.

In fact, the homeless population has increased since 2005, with a plateau in 2011 and 2013. It was roughly 6,200 in 2005. In 2015, it had risen to 6,600. For people harking back to “ye olde San Francisco,” the homeless population was around 5,500 in 1990. So, San Francisco has seen a 20% increase its homeless population since 1990.

Facts, huh? They’re so useful! Hopefully, this media blitz will give us more solid facts to help us understand the epidemic, put it in perspective, and urge local politicians to act.




If you want to get started, here are a few articles and broadcasts already out there. Please let me know of any others in the comments.

Letter of Intent For San Francisco Homeless Project (KTVU)

SFGate published a helpful Q&A about the homelessness epidemic (a must read)

KQED Newsroom took a closer look at San Jose’s homeless

SFist, with CBS 5, delved into how the San Francisco homeless population came to be in 1982

This morning, Forum with Michael Krasny talked with Jeff Kotisky, the head of the new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

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