City identifies 20 homeless hot spots

City agencies charged with relieving San Francisco’s homeless problem are zeroing in on 20 geographic locations with the highest concentrations of homeless persons, according to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s homeless czar, Trent Rohrer.

Drawing from the results of a recent count of 6,377 homeless persons in San Francisco, Rohrer said a list of the so-called homeless hot spots was presented to relevant department heads during a March 30 meeting as part of an ongoing effort to tackle one of The City’s biggest quality-of-life issues.

According to Rohrer, the list will direct resources such as Department of Public Works cleanup crews and the San Francisco Police Department’s 30 Operation Outreach officers — those specially trained to deal with the homeless population — and case managers of the San Francisco Homeless Outreach teams to these homeless hot spots.

Released in March, the homeless count, which is required biennially by federal law, found the number of homeless people increased since the January 2005 count, which identified 6,248 homeless persons. The counts include those in emergency shelters, hospitals and treatment centers. The count showed a 38 percent drop in homeless people compared with the count in 2002, which identified 8,640 homeless persons.

“We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress,” Newsom said in April about The City’s efforts to address the problem. He added that The City is on its way to becoming “more focused and targeted based upon the recent homeless count, which allowed for us for the first time ever to see the geographic challenges of homelessness in San Francisco.”

Rohrer, executive director of The City’s Department of Human Services, said targeting areas is the alternative to a “scattershot approach,” which doesn’t make sense when “dealing with limited resources.”

One of the new strategies to help with the homeless people in these hot spots is to have a team of two outreach case managers on every shift available to “respond quickly to hot spot referrals from city departments,” according to a March 30 city document outlining a plan to serve homeless hot spots in The City.

Rohrer said he hopes to have funding for more outreach case managers as part of next fiscal year’s budget so more can respond quickly to reports of homeless people. The case managers meet with homeless persons and attempt to have them sign up for the “street to home plan,” which opens the door to them for a wide array of city services, from substance abuse treatment to housing.

Rohrer praised The City’s efforts in recent years to combat the homeless problem, pointing to data showing how many homeless people have been helped. San Francisco has placed 2,907 homeless individuals into permanent housing since January 2004 and provided another 1,864 homeless persons with paid transportation to leave San Francisco for destinations where they have friends or family.

Homeless Hot Spots

» Jones, from Market to Geary

» Union Square, plus block bounded by Mason/Post/Powell/Geary

» Powell and Market, including Hallidie Plaza

» Fourth Street from Folsom to Market, including the Metreon

» Market, from Seventh to Eighth, including U.N. Plaza

» Civic Center Plaza

» Van Ness, from Market to Pine

» Mission, from South Van Ness to Otis

» Market, from Ninth to Valencia, including 44 Gough

» Transbay Terminal

» Fisherman’s Wharf, from Pier 39 to Jones

» Ferry Building, Justin Herman Plaza/Davis, from California to Pine

» Caltrans/Fourth and King

» Blocks bounded by O’Farrell, Mason, Eddy and Taylor

» Haight and Stanyan, including Alvord Lake and Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park

» Market and 15th

» Blocks bounded by Second, Market, New Montgomery, Mission

» Ninth Avenue and Irving

» West Portal

» Washington Square

– Source: March 30,2007, hot spot list provided by the Mayor’s Office

jsabatini@examiner.com

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