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“Human Tragedy” on the “Diseased Streets” of San Francisco: “Worse Than Slums in Brazil & India”

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How dirty is San Francisco? An NBC Bay Area Investigation reveals a dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces throughout downtown San Francisco. The Investigative Unit surveyed 153 blocks of the city – the more than 20-mile stretch includes popular tourist spots like Union Square and major hotel chains. The area – bordered by Van Ness Avenue, Market Street, Post Street, and Grant Avenue – is also home to City Hall, schools, playgrounds, and a police station.

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit surveyed a section of downtown San Francisco to determine the number of feces, hypodermic needles, and garbage littering the heart of the city. The results reveal a disgusting and potentially deadly mix of contamination that experts now believe could exceed some of the dirtiest slums in the world...

As the Investigative Unit photographed nearly a dozen hypodermic needles scattered across one block, a group of preschool students happened to walk by on their way to an afternoon field trip to city hall.

“We see poop, we see pee, we see needles, and we see trash,” said teacher Adelita Orellana.

“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.”

In light of the dangerous conditions, part of Orellana’s responsibilities now includes teaching young children how to avoid the contamination.

Preschool teacher Adelita Orellana says the prevalence of needles in San Francisco has forced her to educate her students, some as young as two years old, about the inherent dangers (Jan 11, 2018). Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

‘There’s Poop in There’

“The floor is dirty,” said A’Nylah Reed, a 3-year-old student at the preschool, who irately explained having to navigate dirty conditions on her walks to school.

“There is poop in there,” she exclaimed. “That makes me angry.”

Kim Davenport, A’nyla’s mother, often walks her daughter to the Compass preschool on Leavenworth Street in San Francisco. She said she often has to pull her daughter out of the way in order to keep her from stepping on needles and human waste. “I just had to do that this morning!”

A’Nylah Reed, 3, regularly has to dodge piles of feces and drug needles during her walks to and from preschool in downtown San Francisco (Jan. 11, 2018). Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

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The Investigate Unit spent three days assessing conditions on the streets of downtown San Francisco and discovered trash on each of the 153 blocks surveyed. While some streets were littered with items as small as a candy wrapper, the vast majority of trash found included large heaps of garbage, food, and discarded junk. The investigation also found 100 drug needles and more than 300 piles of feces throughout downtown. 

A needle found on the streets of downtown San Francisco was one of 100 discovered as part of an NBC Bay Area Investigation into potentially dangerous conditions (Dec. 28, 2017). Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

Dried Feces can Lead to Airborne Viruses

“If you do get stuck with these disposed needles you can get HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and a variety of other viral diseases,” said Dr. Lee Riley, an infectious disease expert at University of California, Berkeley. He warned that once fecal matter dries, it can become airborne, releasing potentially dangerous viruses, such as the rotavirus. “If you happen to inhale that, it can also go into your intestine,” he said. The results can prove fatal, especially in children.

Riley has researched conditions across the poorest slums of the world. His book titled, “Slum Health,” examines health problems that are created by extreme poverty.

Dr. Lee Riley is an infectious disease scientist at University of California – Berkeley and has researched health issues in some of the dirtiest slums around the world. (Jan 18, 2018) Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

San Francisco Compared to Some of the Dirtiest Slums in the World

Based on the findings of the Investigative Unit survey, Riley believes parts of the city may be even dirtier than slums in some developing countries.

“The contamination is … much greater than communities in Brazil or Kenya or India,” he said.

He notes that in those countries, slum dwellings are often long-term homes for families and so there is an attempt to make the surroundings more livable. Homeless communities in San Francisco, however, are often kicked out from one part of town and forced to relocate to another. The result is extreme contamination, according to Riley.

‘We Aren’t Addressing the Root Cause’

“Unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

“We’re losing tourists. We’re losing conventions in San Francisco. All of this is happening because we aren’t addressing the root cause, which is we need more temporary beds for street homelessness.”

Ronen believes San Francisco has been too focused on permanent housing for the homeless and that the city has neglected to provide enough temporary shelter, which can provide the homeless a respite from the streets. The city currently has about 2,000 temporary beds. Ronen, however, believes an additional 1,000 are needed, at a cost of about $25 million.

“We need to find a source of revenue,” said Ronen.

“Whether that’s putting something on the ballot to raise business taxes or taking a look at our general fund and re-allocating money towards that purpose and taking it away from something else in the city.”

San Francisco Spends $30 Million Cleaning Feces, Drug Needles

Until the problem is fixed, Mohammed Nuru, the Director of the Public Works Department, is charged with the towering task of cleaning the streets, over and over again. “Yes, we can clean, he said, “and then go back a few hours later, and it looks as if it was never cleaned. So is that how you want to spend your money?”

The 2016-2017 budget for San Francisco Public Works includes $60.1 million for “Street Environmental Services.” The budget has nearly doubled over the past five years. Originally, that money, was intended to clean streets, not sidewalks.

According to city ordinances, sidewalks are the responsibility of property owners. However, due to the severity of the contamination in San Francisco, Public Works has inherited the problem of washing sidewalks. Nuru estimates that half of his street cleaning budget – about $30 million – goes towards cleaning up feces and needles from homeless encampments and sidewalks.

‘Human Tragedy’ in San Francisco

A single pile of human waste, said Nuru, takes at least 30 minutes for one of his staffers to clean.

“The steamer has to come. He has to park the steamer. He’s got to come out with his steamer, disinfect, steam clean, roll up and go.”

Asked if he’d be willing to give up part of his budget and allocate it to more directly addressing the homeless problem – which would likely alleviate his cleaning problem – Nuru said, “The Board of Supervisors, the mayor – those are decisions that they need to make.”  He added, “I want to continue cleaning and I want to be able to continue to provide services. The Public Works Department provides services seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

Ronen acknowledges that finding the money to provide 1,000 additional beds for the homeless may very well take years. The city is planning on opening three new Navigation Centers for homeless people by the summer, but two centers will also be closing.

“We’re not going to make a huge dent in this problem unless we deal with some underlying major social problems and issues,” she said.

“There’s a human tragedy happening in San Francisco.” Source

StevieRay Hansen
Editor, HNewsWire.com

Jesus chastised religious leaders in the first century for not knowing the time of His arrival. Will we make the same mistake today? Christ stated how His second coming would be preceded by global events signifying the end of our age. We may not know the day or the hour, but we can know the season!

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28.)

Education is useless without the bible (Daniel Webster)

“Courage is as “fear that has said its prayers.”

John Wesley who said that what we tolerate in our generation, will be embraced by the next. Wesley is 100% correct! We are living in sick times.

Usually, the Lord doth no great thing for or against his people, without giving warning of it before it comes.

They perverted justice among themselves (v. 7): “You turn judgment to wormwood, that is, you make your administrations of justice bitter and nauseous, and highly displeasing both to God and man.’’ That fruit has become a weed, a weed in the garden; as nothing is more venerable, nothing more valuable, than justice duly administered, so nothing is more hurtful, nothing more abominable, than designedly doing wrong under color and pretense of doing right. Corruptio optimi est pessima —The best, when corrupted, becomes the worst.

It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated.

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StevieRay Hansen

In his riveting memoir, "A Long Journey Home", StevieRay Hansen will lead you through his incredible journey from homeless kid to multimillionaire oilman willing to give a helping hand to other throwaway kids. Available on Amazon.

9 Comments

  1. Gort on August 11, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Dear Hillary Ronen: If you think the ‘root’ cause of your problems is the lack of enough temporary beds, well YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA OF WHAT THE WORD ROOT MEANS! Lack of temporary beds is about 6 stages from the root cause. Sorry Hillary you have no idea what you are doing!

  2. Beaumont on August 11, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    “Homeless communities in San Francisco, however, are often kicked out from one part of town and forced to relocate to another. The result is extreme contamination, according to Riley.”

    There is some element of sweat shop labor and condescension, in the crisis housing.

    Tie them to that location, and you have recreated feudalism.

    • Frederick Callende on August 13, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      How about public restrooms? Either build more space toilets, have more porta-toilets, or just pass a law stating businesses have to let people use the restroom facilities. Simple solutions to the feces issue with likely some impact to the needle trash.
      Housing is great, but the culture of not providing accessible facilities is the real root cause of the fifth. Every person has bodily functions regardless of their status. Don’t want shit on the streets? Provide accessible toilets

  3. Robert Mitchell on August 12, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Bus them to dorms in Oakland or some other location in silicon valley, with round the clock AA and NA meetings.If they leave the dorms it is because they are clean and sober and they can support themselves.Make sure ( this is for the learned officials, make sure the dorms have showers and toilets.If they don’t go to the dorms arrest them for loitering, they don’t get out of jail unless they go to the designated homeless shelter. Problem fixed San Francisco.Clean the place up.

  4. Jay on August 12, 2019 at 8:42 am

    So the root cause is a lack of beds for the homeless is it?
    How about the root cause being a nation of homosexuals and Godless, unrepentant reprobates who now think that their politicians are god instead? Boy we gotta have that tourism too cuz that brings in more revenue for the politicians to squander and live like fat cats.

    No, the root cause is sin against God. That’s the real issue. And politicians have made merchandise of the people by teaching them that sin is ok because there is no God except the politicians.

    • StevieRay Hansen on August 12, 2019 at 8:47 am

      You Know The Truth!…

    • Bruce Wayne on August 18, 2019 at 11:44 am

      yep, and it’s just strange that in this godless environment, we have protesters all concerned for the illegal immigrants, to get them homes, food, and healthcare just for starters………….and yet, zero efforts for the 500,000 people displaced by globalism and endless illegal migration.

      The Bible says, the root of evil is the love of money…and it’s the love of money that has caused to use of slave labor in order to enrich our elite and produce billionaires while our own people get kicked to the curb.

  5. Blather on August 12, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I bet this is a Democrap run city? Am I not right? They are into death and decay because their ideology comes before humans.

  6. No longer enjoying S.F. on August 12, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    For many years I held a conference for my employees in San Francisco, it was five day affair. We paid for all rooms, meals and incidentals and encouraged our staff to bring their spouses which led to the spouses spending money shopping and dining while not with their spouses but grew tired of having to deal with the constant panhandling, the human waste and constantly seeing drug use in public. We USED to look forward to our San Francisco excursions but moved our conference to a resort out of the country. I feel sorry for San Francisco as it truly is, was a beautiful city.

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A Long Journey Home

A book about a fourteen-year-old boy, the son of a Baptist pastor, thrown from his home at age 14. This boy, StevieRay, would later become a multimillionaire. Now he gives orphans a second chance at life.

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