From Curbed, S.F., January 22:
“Do they have anywhere else to go?” human rights advocate asks of SF population
Leilani Farha, a special rapporteur on Adequate Housing for the United Nations (special rapporteurs areindependent experts appointed by the UN’s Human Rights Council to do fact-finding missions), made an unofficial visit the Bay Area last week and gave a grim assessment of local conditions for the homeless. Farha describes the “cruelty” of chronic homelessness in Oakland and San Francisco.
A reporter for the UK’s Guardian newspaper accompanied Farha and recorded her reactions to Oakland homeless camps:
“In international human rights law,” Farha said, “providing shelter to people who are homeless is the absolute minimum standard for any country, regardless of resources.”
[...] Farha was struck by the stories she heard of homeless people losing their few possessions in encampment sweeps, and laws that criminalize sitting on sidewalks or food sharing. “There’s a cruelty here that I don’t think I’ve seen,” she said.
Farha noted that, although the Bay Area enjoys breathtaking levels of wealth, conditions for the unhoused are comparable to those in chronically-impoverished countries.
East Bay Express reports:
“In Mexico City, I visited a low-income settlement that had been moved by the city onto empty land near a railway line,” [Farha] said. “They had no running water. They stole electricity.” The camp was noisy and dangerous. She noted that the camp in Mexico is virtually identical to those she visited in Oakland, including the Wood Street and 23rd Avenue encampments.
The contrast between haves and have-nots proved even worse when Farha visited San Francisco. On Twitter, she wondered where San Francisco’s homeless population has to go once rousted from public spaces....