Tag Archives: poverty

San Francisco curbs waste with public bogs, ‘poop patrol’


The sidewalks surrounding Ahmed Al Barak’s nook market in one in every of San Francisco’s roughest neighborhoods are stuffed with cardboard, used syringes and homeless individuals who have nowhere protected to go at evening.

However Al Barak says it is an enchancment from a yr in the past, earlier than town posted a transportable bathroom throughout the road from his enterprise within the metropolis’s Tenderloin district.

He now not often sees folks relieve themselves in broad daylight, and he doesn’t see as a lot feces and urine on the streets. In his opinion, it is the one vibrant spot in a metropolis the place taxes are too excessive.

“We used to have a catastrophe right here. I used to name town on a regular basis to come back and clear, as a result of they do not know the place to go,” he mentioned, recalling one lady particularly who shrugged at him in a “what are you able to do?” gesture as she squatted to pee.

San Francisco began its “Pit Cease” program in July 2014 with public bogs within the metropolis’s homeless-heavy Tenderloin, after kids complained of dodging human waste on their approach to college. At this time, the staffed bogs have grown from three to 25 areas, and this system has expanded to Los Angeles. In Might, the bogs in San Francisco recorded almost 50,000 flushes, all logged by attendants.

The situation of San Francisco’s streets has been a supply of embarrassment to metropolis leaders, and cleansing up shouldn’t be low cost. The town obtained almost 27,000 requests for feces removing in the latest fiscal yr, though not all are human.

Mayor London Breed final yr introduced the formation of a particular six-person “poop patrol” workforce the place every cleaner earns greater than $70,000 a yr.

Advocates say steam cleansing requests have dropped in areas surrounding a few of the public bogs. The mayor signed a price range Thursday that features greater than $9 million for the Pit Cease bogs this yr, up from $5 million final fiscal yr. San Francisco will add seven new bogs in a metropolis the place a one-night rely of homeless folks grew 17% previously two years.

The bogs every value a median of $200,000 a yr to function, with a lot of the cash going to staffing and overhead.

A number of the bogs are everlasting fixtures, whereas others are portables with two bogs which can be trucked out and in. The stops have receptacles for used syringes and canine waste. Attendants who’re paid town’s minimal wage of $16 an hour examine after each use and knock on doorways to ensure persons are not doing medicine or different illicit exercise. The bogs should shine or they don’t open.

The staffing is what makes a rest room a Pit Cease, and the work is normally achieved by males popping out of jail after many years behind bars.

The “practitioners” stand guard at a few of society’s bleakest intersections of poverty, habit and psychological sickness, says Lena Miller, founding father of nonprofit Hunters Level Household and its spinoff, City Alchemy, which staffs the Pit Stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They stop overdoses, break up fights and greet regulars, she says.

“Actually what we’re doing is we’re creating this area the place folks know that they will stroll into it, and it will scent good. It’ll look good,” Miller mentioned. “There will not be trash in every single place, and so they’re protected. And I feel that makes all of the distinction on the planet.”

Nelson Butler was a 19-year-old Los Angeles gangster when he went to jail for 30 years for killing an individual. Butler was launched final yr from San Quentin State Jail, scared and apprehensive and in want of a job. He went to work at a Pit Cease.

Technically, his job was to forestall drug use within the bogs and ensure homeless folks did not arrange camp.

“The fact is I am a safety guard. I used to be a babysitter, I used to be a social employee, I used to be a counselor. I did quite a lot of issues that was not essentially within the scope of my job description, however that is my group,” Butler mentioned. “So my thought was, if I noticed any individual that wanted assist, that is why I am there — to assist.”

Homelessness has surged all through California, and cities are struggling to open extra bogs. Officers are contemplating including port-a-potties and particular loos designed by town of Portland, Oregon, and increasing hours of restrooms in authorities buildings.

Sacramento, which is in a county the place a one-night rely of the homeless elevated 19% in two years, tried a Pit Cease however stopped after a number of months as a result of it value an excessive amount of.

Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin initially thought the stops too expensive, however he now understands that having somebody to observe over the bogs has its upsides. Los Angeles noticed a 16% enhance over a yr in its one-night rely of homeless, to 36,000.

“I heard from everybody, from folks affiliated with legislation enforcement, from individuals who reside within the neighborhood, from homeless advocates, from people who find themselves homeless themselves, that it is essential to have a workers to ensure they keep clear and freed from destruction or abuse,” he mentioned.

Down the road from Ahmed Al Barak’s nook market is Aref Elgaali’s Z Zoul, a Sudanese cafe. The general public rest room by his eatery has helped, he says, however it closes too early, and there must be many extra of the bogs.

“Why to not have on this nook one and that nook one and the opposite nook one? That may resolve quite a lot of issues for the folks right here in San Francisco,” he mentioned.


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Appeals court puts Trump abortion restrictions on hold again


Trump administration rules that impose additional hurdles for low-income women seeking abortions are on hold once again.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday vacated a unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel and said a slate of 11 judges will reconsider lawsuits brought by more than 20 states and several civil rights and health organizations challenging the rules.

The rules ban taxpayer-funded clinics from making abortion referrals and prohibit clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers.

Critics say the rules would force many clinics to find new locations, undergo expensive remodels or shut down.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The agency previously said its position “is supported by long-standing Supreme Court precedent, and we are confident we will ultimately prevail on appeal.”

Federal judges in Washington, Oregon and California blocked the rules from taking effect. U.S. District Judge Michael McShane in Oregon called the new policy “madness” and said it was motivated by “an arrogant assumption that the government is better suited to direct women’s health care than their providers.”

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit overruled them two weeks ago. The judges called the rules “reasonable” and said they align with a federal law that prohibits taxpayer funds from going to “programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

With that decision vacated, the injunctions issued by the lower court judges are once again in effect. It’s not clear when new court arguments will be held.

“We are profoundly grateful the preliminary injunction is back in place,” said Clare Coleman, president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, which is involved in the cases.

She said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had not yet been enforcing the new rules, even though the three-judge panel’s ruling had given it the green light to do so.

The rules affect organizations that provide, and women who receive, health care through Title X, a 1970 law designed to improve access to family planning services.

Among them is Planned Parenthood, which had called the now-vacated panel decision “devastating.” It serves about 1.6 million of the 4 million low-income patients who receive health care through Title X.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of Title X or other taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the woman’s life. Abortion opponents and religious conservatives say Title X has long been used to indirectly subsidize abortion providers.

If allowed to take effect, the administration’s new policy would mark a return to rules that were adopted in 1988 and subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court. Under the Clinton administration, those rules were abandoned in favor of a requirement that the clinics provide neutral abortion counseling and referrals upon request.

Those challenging Trump’s approach have pointed to the Affordable Care Act, which bars the government from creating unreasonable barriers to medical care or interfering with communications between the patient and provider.


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The Latest: Disability rights group blasts treatment pilot


The Latest on a San Francisco proposal to force some people with drug addictions and mental illness into treatment (all times local):

6:25 p.m.

Disability Rights California is criticizing San Francisco supervisors for approving a program that would force some people with serious mental illness and drug addiction into treatment.

Curt Child of Disability Rights California said Tuesday that San Francisco lacks the housing and other resources needed to safely care for people who need intensive services. He worries that people with serious mental health problems will end up locked away in institution-like facilities.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved legislation for a pilot program that would allow the city to commit certain people to in-house treatment against their will.

The measure passed 10-1 despite misgivings by several supervisors concerned about the idea of taking away a person’s civil rights.


4:45 p.m.

San Francisco officials have decided to force people with serious mental illness and drug addiction into treatment without their consent.

Several members of the Board of Supervisors voiced deep concerns Tuesday about the possibility of taking away a person’s civil liberties, but the proposal passed 10-1.

Supervisor Shamann Walton voted no, saying he had heard nothing on how the city would reduce the impact on African American people and other minorities.

Supervisors who were reluctant to say yes changed their minds after hearing that Mayor London Breed introduced a budget that would include additional treatment beds. Breed backs the measure.

The city’s public health department says the proposal will affect only about five people but could expand to 55 people with legislation pending at the state level.


12:05 a.m.

San Francisco supervisors are considering a proposal to force drug addicts with serious mental illnesses into treatment.

Mayor London Breed and other supporters of the proposal say the move known as conservatorship is necessary to help addicts who are often homeless and suffering from a mental illness, making them a danger to themselves.

Supporters say the number of people who could be forced into treatment is small, likely fewer than 50. Supervisors are expected to consider the idea Tuesday.

Critics call the measure a violation of civil rights that runs against the principles of the liberal city. They also say San Francisco lacks the services and shelter to successfully expand the number of people in such a program.

Incomes are generally high in San Francisco, but the city struggles with a growing number of homeless people and some show disturbing street behavior fueled by drugs and mental illness.


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Feeding a family on a food stamp budget

Healthy food is hard to come by in many sections of Bridgeport, CT. Especially on a food stamp budget. We follow a single mother shopping as she tries to make her SNAP benefits stretch.