Public Works eorkers in vests work to clear an encampment.

Report Calls SF’s Homeless Sweeps Practices Illegal

On Thursday, a damning report dropped, offering new data on San Francisco’s practice of sweeping encampments. Authored by the Coalition on Homelessness, the report alleges the Healthy Streets Operation Center regularly fails to offer an adequate number of shelter beds to people on the streets during its cleanup operations and is illegally discarding people’s belongings. The practices create serious legal risk for San Francisco.

Local Veterans Reflect on ‘Moral Obligation’ to Afghans

After the Taliban took over the Afghan government, a massive evacuation effort began, but thousands are still waiting at the airport in Kabul. Tyler Solorio, an Army veteran deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and a policy analyst for the veterans nonprofit Swords to Plowshares, said the U.S. government has made it dangerously complicated for Afghans to get out.

Evacuees from Afghanistan arrive at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, on an aircraft crewed by Air National Guard members on Aug. 23, 2021.

Organizers Rush to Help Afghan Refugees in Bay Area

Thousands are fleeing Afghanistan in fear of violent reprisals from the Taliban, which captured the nation in a matter of days after the U.S. began withdrawing its troops. Farhad Yousafzai said refugees are arriving in the Bay Area from Afghanistan in dire need of everything — a place to stay, a shower, health care, a change of clothes for the first time in 10 days. 

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How SF Will Allocate $1 Billion in Homelessness Funding

Emily Cohen, interim director for strategy and external affairs at the department, talked with “Civic” about where these investments are being focused — more than half of the funds are earmarked for housing — and why. A count of people visibly unsheltered on the street that takes place on one night every two years tallied about 8,000 people in 2019. Cohen said city programs have helped some 25,000 people exit homelessness since 2005.

A group of people pass by a tent pitched against the side of a freeway ramp.

Invest in Temporary, Permanent and Preventive Measures to House Homeless, Report Says

“Civic” spoke with Tomiquia Moss, founder and CEO of AllHome, a regional organization working to disrupt cycles of poverty and homelessness and to create more economic mobility for extremely low-income people. Moss describes the need for more investment across different interventions to reduce the pressure to prioritize those who have the most complex and chronic needs over those who could exit homelessness with shorter-term help, or over prevention strategies.

The Grier family, featured in the documentary film “Sky Blossom.”

Documentary ‘Sky Blossom’ Highlights Young Caregivers

Millions of Americans have stepped in as caregivers for loved ones with illnesses or injuries that mean they need help with daily living. The work is generally unpaid and often invisible to the world outside the family. Some of these caregivers are children. A new documentary, “Sky Blossom: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation,” highlights young people who are taking on these roles in their families. Director and co-producer Richard Lui, a news anchor at MSNBC and NBC News, talked with “Civic” about why and how young people are stepping in to do this work and what it means to be a caregiver. 

“Sky Blossom” will screen at CAAMFest on May 18 at 6 p.m. It will also air on MSNBC May 29 and 30, and will reach a theater in every state on May 26. 

“Caregiving for my own father is what probably opened my eyes to this.

A Homeless Outreach Team worker inspects a handwashing station and finds that it needs to be refilled in the summer of 2020, at a time when coronavirus health and safety guidelines emphasized hygiene, not masks, as the best method to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Pandemic Limited Shelter Options, Frustrating Homeless Outreach Workers

Members of San Francisco’s Homeless Outreach Team — also known as the “HOT team” — walk neighborhood beats to offer support, information and referrals to services to people living on the streets. During the pandemic the resources available, particularly shelters, changed significantly. Mark Mazza, outreach manager for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, talked with “Civic” about how those changes influenced the outreach team’s work.

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Yes, Mail-Order Boxes Are a Pain for Sanitation Workers

Some customers had their boxes broken down and neatly bundled, which Recology recycling driver Gareth Willey said helps, Willey but too often, he would open a door to a basement and find the boxes piled high, and would have to figure out a way to get all the material out onto the street and into the truck.

A gloved provider holds a needle to a person's shoulder in preparation for a vaccine injection.

Campaign Phone Bankers Pivot to Vaccine Outreach

Former state senate candidate and public bank advocate Jackie Fielder recently launched a political action committee, Daybreak PAC, and has shifted some campaign organizing infrastructure toward a vaccine access effort. Some phone bank volunteers now make calls to seniors living in neighborhoods like the Bayview, to ask if they would like to get vaccinated and if they face any barriers to doing so.