A man holds a clipboard while standing next to a woman, below a design featuring a clipboard with lines leading to items like an image of tents, an image of handcuffs, a syringe, a questionnaire.

San Francisco Rations Housing by Scoring Homeless People’s Trauma. By Design, Most Fail to Qualify.

Co-published with ProPublica.

Tabitha Davis had just lost twins in childbirth and was facing homelessness. The 23-year-old had slept on friends’ floors for the first seven months of her pregnancy, before being accepted to a temporary housing program for pregnant women. But with the loss of the twins, the housing program she’d applied to live in after giving birth — intended for families — was no longer an option.

A few weeks later, Davis was informed that the score she’d been given based on her answers to San Francisco’s “coordinated entry” questionnaire wasn’t high enough to qualify for permanent supportive housing. It was a devastating blow after an already traumatizing few months.

A photo of the building fascade and entrance to a HealthRIGHT 360 location on Mission Street. Overdoses in San Francisco spiked in 2020. HealthRIGHT 360 is one of many organizations in the city that provide substance use disorder treatment services.

Surge in Overdose Deaths Is a Puzzle Public Health Experts Are Desperate to Solve

In San Francisco, drug overdoses killed more people than did COVID-19 in the first two years of the pandemic — 711 deaths in 2020, and 645 in 2021. These figures are troubling, even without counting nonfatal overdoses and other suffering associated with this crisis. While fentanyl is often cited for the rapid increase, many factors contribute to this trend both in San Francisco and nationally.

wickham_cameronhouse-2.jpg

Chinatown Center Carries on Legacy of Refuge, Service

In the late 1800s, Chinese women and girls were arriving by the boatload in San Francisco, and often forced into sex work and indentured servitude while officials turned a blind eye, or even enabled the practice. A group of women began to rescue them through what came to be known as the Cameron House.  

Knock-Knock: Have You Been Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

In Bayview Hunters Point, most residents have already gotten their shots. One community organizer says part of the reason for that high vaccination rate is because of on-the-ground outreach work that local groups have been doing. That work continues and will for the foreseeable future.

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. 

homeless_sf_2017-05_cropped.jpg

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.