“Never Give Up” profiles Demond Rodgers, Sr. as he moves beyond addiction to spiritual growth and surviving HIV. Despite all efforts, Demond teeters on the edge of homelessness in a city without adequate housing and services. San Francisco, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, has not been able to leverage its remarkable resources to provide homeless people with housing.
In 2014, San Francisco had the fastest-growing rate of income inequality of any city in the nation. In 2015, SF’s wealthiest people were the wealthiest in the land. Not much has changed since this news. San Francisco is a snapshot of the extreme income inequity in the U.S. – that fact reflected on our streets in many ways – the most glaringly as homelessness.
San Francisco’s latest point-in-time homeless tally, conducted on a single night in January 2017, estimates the city’s homeless population at 7,499 people.
I’m hit by the suffering of the people who live on the streets. So many are sick, elderly, suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses. It’s not uncommon to see someone wandering around in a hospital gown, with nowhere warm and healing to recover.
Despite noble efforts by over 70 non-profits, volunteers, activists, and concerned citizens, San Francisco has been unable to solve the inhumane homeless crisis on its streets. Why hasn’t San Francisco been able to mobilize the wealth of its citizens to assist in the housing and care of people without homes?
In 2016 Mayor Ed Lee unveiled a new plan: a coordinated citywide effort with two efforts — Navigation Centers and the Encampment Resolution Team. Currently, the mayor’s 2017-18 budget raises funding for the city’s shelters from $25.9 million to $37.2 million — a 44 percent increase if the Board of Supervisors approves it this summer. The city promises progress — but says we must be patient.
Hurry, San Francisco. Let’s not let the city take its time on this. Keep on your supervisors, the mayor. Housing – not sleeping bags under freeways.
Watch the film here: