San Francisco homeless numbers plummet


Despite intense, sometimes hysterical criticism of his alleged heartlessness, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ended direct cash grants to homeless people. Instead, specific services, such as housing, were purchased and provided to ligitimate claimants. In other words, no more free money.

The numbers show the

number of people on general assistance in San Francisco has shrunk from 2,497 to 545 —— a reduction of 80 percent.

San Francisco Chronicle ace reporters Matier & Ross report that one reason is that the city doesn't hesitate to buy one way bus tickets, sendking indigent newcomers wherever they have someone who can take them.

"Now, we just make a call to make sure they have someone to go back to,'' said Trent Rhorer, head of the city Department of Human Services."

If they do, then we send them out that afternoon.

"They get a ticket to New York or wherever they're going, money for meals and an escort down to the bus station,'' Rhorer said.

There haven't been a lot of returns.

So a tough—minded policy of eliminating a cash incentive to attract shiftless people from all over actually works. Don't expect to read very much about this. It makes too much sense and reinforces conservative wisdom.

Thmas Lifson   8 10 05