hands holding a vial of naloxone

Harm Reduction Critical to Addressing Overdose Crisis, Local Experts Say

The key to addressing San Francisco’s overdose crisis, say community activists and medical experts in the city, is harm reduction. That’s an approach that acknowledges not all drug users will achieve abstinence, and that focuses on keeping them safe and alive if they’re not ready or able to quit. Drug overdoses killed more people in San Francisco than did COVID-19 in the first two years of the pandemic — 711 deaths in 2020, and 645 in 2021.

A man in a plaid shirt holds a fire extinguisher.

Grassroots Nonprofits and Homeless Communities Create Their Own Fire Prevention Solutions

Encampment fires are a fact of life due to the exposed conditions homeless residents live in, but the 77th Avenue Rangers’ camp demonstrates that there’s hope for controlling these incidents without official intervention.

One key to their success has been fire preparedness, including measures like installing smoke alarms and keeping fire extinguishers on hand.

A young Black man stands on a San Francisco sidewalk. Down the sidewalk behind him sit tents and strewn clothing.

SF Fires Linked to Homeless Surged as Pandemic Set In

Fires associated with homeless encampments in San Francisco rose by more than two-thirds during the first year of the pandemic, according to a Public Press analysis of the narrative texts from San Francisco Fire Department reports.

Fires are an ever-present fear for people living on the streets, where an errant spark could send flames ripping through a tent or other temporary shelter, sending its contents quickly up in smoke. Unhoused residents who have suffered through this experience report receiving little of the help available to those assisted after fires in buildings.

Photographer Captures Homelessness Crisis in ‘Division Street’

In search of a project, photographer Robert Gumpert started wandering around San Francisco. He began talking with and photographing people he encountered who were living on the street and in shelters. The resulting book “Division Street,” named after a street in the city where homeless people have often established encampments, will be released this year.  

The San Francisco city attorney's office is fighting in court for the right to ban alleged drug dealers from 50 square blocks, or 21 acres, of the Tenderloin neighborhood.

ACLU Spars With City Attorney’s Office Over Tenderloin Injunctions

The nation’s largest public interest law firm is battling the San Francisco city attorney’s office over its plan to block 28 alleged drug dealers from setting foot in a 50-block area of the Tenderloin. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a response to the City Attorney’s appeal of a May 2021 ruling that blocked the proposed injunctions. It’s the latest legal step in what’s becoming a drawn-out fight over drug dealing and the rights of people to move freely through San Francisco, and it could have far-reaching implications.