Poop storm: San Fran mayor appeals for mentoring assist from homeless advocates

by WorldTribune Staff, July 16, 2018

As human waste befouls the streets of San Francisco, Mayor London Breed is calling on advocacy groups which receive funding from the city to teach the homeless to “clean up after themselves.”

“There is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” the mayor told KNTV. “That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs – we’re talking about from humans.”

Breed, a Democrat who was inaugurated as San Francisco’s mayor on July 11, said stiffer penalties for homeless offenders are not on the table. Estimates put the city’s homeless population at more than 7,500.

The mayor said homeless advocacy groups aren’t doing a good enough job teaching their clients how to keep the streets clean.

“I work hard to make sure your programs are funded for the purposes of trying to get these individuals help, and what I am asking you to do is work with your clients and ask them to at least have respect for the community – at least, clean up after themselves and show respect to one another and people in the neighborhood.”

The city’s non-emergency 311 line said complaints about human waste increased by 400 percent from 2008 to 2018. There were more than 21,000 reports made to 311 in 2017 alone.

San Francisco has added 18 staffed public restrooms known as pit stops since 2014 and there are plans to add five more, SF Gate reported. “We average about 1 flush every 10 minutes, collectively from those,” said Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Public Works.

A teacher at a San Francisco preschool told KNTV that “We see poop, we see pee, we see needles, and we see trash. Sometimes they ask what is it, and that’s a conversation that’s a little difficult to have with a 2-year old, but we just let them know that those things are full of germs, that they are dangerous, and they should never be touched.”

Breed said that “About 70 percent of the people estimated to be homeless in San Francisco were actually housed in San Francisco before they became homeless. We have to make sure people who live here, [and] sadly, people who are homeless here, that they are also held accountable for taking care of our streets.”

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