A man in his eighties sits on his bed in a small single-room occupancy residence in Chinatown. Behind him is a window where he hangs his clothes. There are assorted items beside him, including a desk fan, a television, newspapers and cardboard boxes.

Protecting Chinatown’s Older Adults From Climate Disasters Requires More Funding, Nonprofits Say

Community organizations say the systems in Chinatown to protect older populations during extreme weather are not enough to meet the needs that could arise. Without sufficient financial backing, the health of many older residents in the neighborhood could be threatened during extreme weather disasters. Similar scenarios could transpire in San Francisco’s other climate-vulnerable areas.

Red lanterns and flags are strung across the roadway on a block in San Francisco's Chinatown. Most of the three and four-story buildings have shops on the ground floor and apartments or offices above. Many of them have wrought iron balconies that are painted green.

For Chinatown’s Older Residents in SROs, Climate Disasters Pose Greater Risks

Chinatown faces higher threats during periods of extreme weather due to a range of socio-economic factors as well as the built environment. Within the neighborhood, older adults living in single-room occupancy buildings are among the populations at heightened risk. Reasons for this include physiological changes related to aging and financial barriers associated with making climate-resiliency adaptations to older buildings.

Three people wearing vests and jackets with city logos speak with a man standing in the entrance of a tent covered with plastic tarps on a city sidewalk.

SF ‘Failing’ on Housing as Overdose Solution, Health Expert Says

Sarah Evans has spent decades advancing drug overdose prevention initiatives around the world. As a division director for Open Society Foundations — a grantmaking network founded and chaired by business magnate George Soros — Evans promotes one surefire way to help abate San Francisco’s homelessness and fatal overdose crisis: housing.

“The way that people get off the street is by getting into housing, where people can get support and stay there even while they are continuing to struggle with substance use disorders of all kinds and mental health issues,” said Evans, who leads the organization’s drug policy programs globally. “It literally is the only way.”

San Francisco isn’t doing enough to meet this housing need, according to health experts.

Susan Lefever, wearing a black jacket and crossbody purse, stands in front of the glass windows of a storefront. There are flyers posted on the glass behind her.

San Francisco’s Fatal Overdose Crisis Was Decades in the Making

As San Francisco continues to search for solutions, our team at “Civic” is exploring the origins of the city’s opioid overdose crisis, what has been done to help and what might be making things worse. After six months of research involving hundreds of studies, reports and archival news clippings, and three dozen interviews with people with lived experience and professional expertise in homelessness, addiction, medicine, criminal justice, housing, social work, street outreach, business, education, harm reduction, policymaking and advocacy, we’re launching the series, “San Francisco and the Overdose Crisis.”

Over six episodes, the series will explore what influenced rampant opioid addiction and its connection to homelessness, the 150-year history of policing and prosecuting drugs in San Francisco, the long battle to open a safe consumption site in the city, and grassroots efforts to stem the tide of drug-related fatalities. 

A graphic from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s preliminary accidental drug overdose data report indicates the types of substances causing accidental fatal overdoses and number of deaths in San Francisco this year by day of death from Jan. 1 to July 31.

City Leaders at Odds as Overdose Deaths Trending Toward Record High

Accidental drug overdose deaths continue to torment San Francisco, according to data released Tuesday by the city medical examiner’s office.

While June saw the lowest monthly number of overdose deaths this year, 54, in July it climbed back up to 71. With 473 overdose deaths this year, San Francisco is on track to surpass its highest recorded number of overdose deaths in a calendar year — 725 in 2020.

People stand and sit under and around a white shade structure. There is a table stacked with pizza boxes and other snacks, with three large bundles of bottled water underneath.

Berkeley Says It Was Aggressive in Homeless Encampment Sweeps, Promises Reforms

Berkeley is accelerating plans to more humanely deal with homelessness in the wake of a San Francisco Public Press report on a chaotic encampment raid in October, and city staffers say they will start collaborating with unhoused people and homeless advocates when planning to clean or clear large encampments.

Several city departments are changing procedures in response to complaints from those living in encampments and their advocates, and from residential and commercial neighbors.

A fence enclosing the Tenderloin Linkage Center at United Nations Plaza in San Francisco is covered in black tarp and signs promoting the center and its services. Pedestrians walk along a red brick-paved sidewalk outside of the enclosed area.

With Overdose Deaths Surging, Critics Chide City, State for Curbing Safe Consumption Centers

San Francisco’s chief medical examiner delivered grim statistics last week about a recent increase in deaths related to drug use. In the first three months of the year, 200 people died of accidental overdose. That’s up significantly from the first quarter last year, with 142 deaths.

These tragedies were disproportionately suffered by marginalized groups. The biggest increase in deaths occurred among those who lacked housing. People listed as having “no fixed address” accounted for 61 overdose deaths in the first quarter, up from 26 during the same period in 2022. Black residents accounted for 33% of fatal overdoses in the first quarter this year, despite representing only 5% of the city’s population.

Addiction experts say the recent increase in overdose deaths could be linked to the closure of the Tenderloin Linkage Center, a temporary facility that operated in United Nations Plaza from January to December 2022 to help drug users and people without housing access supportive services.

Public Records Referenced in Oct. 4 Berkeley Encampment Sweep Article

1-Redacted_Incident-Report-22-46598Download

2-RE_-Campers-parked-for-weeks-across-the-streetDownload

3-Memorandum-to-City-Manager-on-Harrison-Corridor-9.26.22Download

4-RE_-Eighth-Street-Campers-UpdateDownload

5-RE_-Camelia-Street-encampmentDownload

6-Follow-up-Report-on-Harrison-Encampments-29Download