Homelessness: San Francisco’s newest heist

Homelessness has long been an issue San Francisco has ignored in favor of well-funded “solutions” that inevitably fade into nothing but good intentions paving a road to Hell for the homeless people they’re allegedly created to help. As the San Francisco Chronicle leads a second round of mass exploitation of homeless people disguised as crusading journalism, the city’s new Department of Homelessness uses tech-funded nonprofits to ensure millions flow into everyone’s pockets except those who actually need it.

After a first round of mass exploitation in June, the Chronicle returned for a second round this week. Teamed with a legion of nonprofits and MSM, the Chronicle continues its tradition of pathologizing and dehumanizing homeless people. Instead of providing material aid to homeless people, the Chronicle tracks them like wildlife for nine months, their daily pain and struggle boiled down to nothing more than coordinates on a map and a prognosis of “little change seen” at the end of those nine months. “Little change seen” because the Chronicle spends most of its time endorsing politicians and policies unfriendly at best to homeless people, and publishing columnists like C.W. Nevius who are openly hostile to them. What change does the Chronicle expect when it spends its thwarting any such possibilty?

Another partner in the heisting of homeless people in San Francisco is the ever-metastasizing Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Since its inception this summer, the department focused on erasing tech’s role in eviction, displacement and the growing population of homeless people in San Francisco. When Department of Homelessness Director Jeff Kositsky participated in a Reddit AMA in late September, he was asked his opinion of tech’s violent gentrification in neighborhoods such as SOMA and the Tenderloin. His answer:

I do not believe any particular sector can be blamed for homelessness. The federal government stopped investing in affordable housing in any meaningful way in 1978. There are also some perverse incentives in the way our real estate market works. However, there is lots of wealth and talent in the tech sector and they can play a part in the solutions – and many do. Shout out to Google, Salesforce, Twitter, Zendesk, Dolby, Adobe, AppDynamics and so many others that I have not mentioned (sorry to those I forgot).

Up is down, left is right. The very tech companies responsible for rising rents and evictions are now hailed as saviors. Kositsky is very comfortable with tech CEOs and investors such as Marc Benioff and Ron Conway, ensuring tech will continue to leverage homeless people for its own benefit; treating them as cattle and lab rats instead of human beings. The department’s strategy for engaging encampments is more gaslighting and manipulation than honest discourse:

What we decided to do, rather than running around playing whack-a-mole, is we’ll use this list that we have, a survey by DPW (the Department of Public Works), sorted by the biggest encampments. They rank them [by how dangerous they are], based on subjective measurements, but better than nothing.

There are usually informal leaders in encampments. We identify who those are, set up a community meeting, get a very good turnout, we do it right out on the street. We explain to people that we’re here because the neighbors are worried about the people living in the tents, it’s not healthy or safe for them, and that they’re the affecting quality of life in the neighborhood and we really need to resolve this encampment.

Instead of “playing whack-a-mole,” they make up a list, arbitrarily rank people based on how “dangerous” they are, designate an encampment leader (most likely to collaborate), explain how they’re making privileged people feel nervous and then forcibly remove anyone who won’t leave willingly. All for their own good, of course.

While tech provides limitless funding, the actual labor will be provided by a seemingly infinite list of nonprofits, the finest the NPIC has to offer. None of these nonprofits are currently more centered than Project Homeless Connect, a virtual dumping ground for San Francisco’s past failures to help homeless people. Kara Zordel, Executive Director of Project Homeless Connect, is every bit the tech apologist as Kositsky:

“In the city, some people think that [tech companies are] the ones that have displaced people,” she says of technology companies. “But they don’t see the amount of volunteers and donations we’ve received [from the tech sector].”

Zordel is likely so supportive of tech because they’re so supportive of her org’s galas and daily operations. Project Homeless Connect’s tech-funded Breakfast Gala honors former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and current Department of Homelessness Deputy Director of Programs Joyce Crum, who was key in the development of Newsom’s disastrous Care Not Cash program. Like the rest of the NPIC, Project Homeless Connect does not exist to help homeless people; it exists to monetize them and prolong their misery as long as possible to advance careers and build fortunes. And keep donations flowing.

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