Inside the Homeless Outreach Team

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Gary said he had been homeless for 17 years.
PHOTO BY MIKE KOOZMIN

This week’s Bay Guardian features a cover story on homelessness in San Francisco.

For that story, we reached out to the San Francisco Department of Public Health to interview members of the city’s Homeless Outreach Team, public workers who interact directly with people who live on the city’s streets.

Access was denied. It’s not clear why DPH was unwilling to allow a press interview with members of the HOT team, but our requests did coincide with a March 19 Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee hearing regarding a $1.3 million budget supplemental to expand its capacity.

The item was approved 4-1. Sup. John Avalos, who opposed it, said the city ought to come up with a more comprehensive plan to address homelessness.

As Sup. Jane Kim noted in an interview for the story, "If you're just going to increase the HOT team, but not services, then you're just sending people out to harass homeless people."

Meanwhile, thanks to emails we recently obtained in response to a public records request, we now have a clearer picture of the HOT team’s day-to-day activities.

Apparently, efforts to expand the HOT team are being made in the context of city officials being contacted frequently by neighbors who complain that they are very bothered by the sight of homeless people.

A records request yielded more than 100 pages of such complaints. Some are quite dramatic.

“I don’t know where to begin,” one resident wrote. “I feel between mad, disgusted, and frustrated. This homeless encampment keeps growing. … The city has put up wire fencing only to be cut through by the homeless. … It is within 100 yards of my 1.2M condo.”

Another said: “Something is deeply wrong with San Francisco policy. Cultivating the Bohemian San Francisco style is nice but … it is as if we were in a deteriorated undeveloped country. We live in downtown San Francisco, not in the favelas, which is what it feels like …”

Still another complainant wrote: “Bags distributors are installed in the parks in order to help dog lovers clean up after their dogs, which is completely normal, but nothing is done for all the human beings who stroll, do drugs, eat, sleep, urinate, defecate and so on, on the sidewalks.”

Sometimes these complaints result in HOT team visits to homeless encampments that have been described. But the emails suggest that while the city’s HOT team does approach homeless folks to try and persuade them to access services or go to a shelter, the service workers don’t always have full services to direct them to if the homeless individuals agree to do so.

Psychiatric social worker Jason Albertson, who is part of the HOT team, explained this dilemma in an email sent in mid-January. His email noted that the HOT team had encountered some homeless people in the vicinity of Harriet Alley and Manolo Draves Park, in response to a neighbor’s urging.

They’re “primarily in transit, meaning that they camp in different places each night and are not regulars,” he explained. “So far, nobody has wanted to enter into shelter or discuss other access to treatment or services.” But even if they had, he said, there wouldn't be too many options for moving forward with recovery.

“At this time, our case management support is limited with identified clients waiting,” he wrote. “So capacity for full service is limited.”

Comments

There they can be medically monitored as they withdraw from drugs and alcohol plus receive education and training. It's clear the kid-glove approach is a total failure.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

homeless cannot harass the rest of us would be an optimal solution

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

too huh?

Let's just get rid of all of the undesirables... maybe build a wall up around all us privileged people who can sit around reading stories on computers and giving our F'd up advise based on small greedy perspectives...

Yes, a wall around the city of the good, healthy people with morals sounds like the best solution

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:12 am

you want to arrest people for being poor? what kind of people are you? heartless and cruel...

there is nothing therapeutic about being incarcerated... take a look a recidivism rates to see that folks in jail are not recovering. incarcerating folks is too expensive, it's a revolving door...there is no education or training

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:08 am

Simply withdraw services where you do not want them to be and they will move voluntarily

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:28 am

services to the homeless then we would have less of a homeless problem?

Gee, do ya think?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2014 @ 5:55 pm

Cash Aid in S.F. if one is homeless is limited to 60 dollars per month and the offer of a shelter bed. If the person or the system is able to find a S.R.O. placement, often the cash aid will increase, but at no time will it be more than 448$ per month. Less in fact, because some of this will go to rent.

In S.F., if one's rent and utilities are combined, more than 342$, then they are ineligible for any cash aid as part of the Gov't Assistance program. That's the cap.

One can get, at most, if they have a room in an apartment, 448$, plus a food stamp benefit of 189$ worth of food, for a single individual.

Posted by Josh on Mar. 27, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

by panhandling? And there are tons of "supportive services" designed to make living on the streets a whole lot easier. Free food, medical care, Internet, phones, post office will hold your mail etc... Just find a nice alcove in which to sleep and all your other needs are met.

Being homeless in SF isn't THAT hard - the weather also helps in making it easier.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

If being homeless is so amazing why don't you try it?

The picture you paint sounds fabulous.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:10 am

So how much more do you propose we pay people to hang out on the plaza all day and get loaded, you know, in addition to the free apartment in the heart of downtown?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

$448!!
Insane. I had no idea. Does anyone know if there is any other large US city that gives that much money to homeless people?

Posted by Becky Backside on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 8:38 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 8:49 am

Of course $448 is insane.

That's why we are fighting so hard to get the Google buses to pay their fair share, so that we can pay our homeless at least the minimum wage.

Posted by Joe Progressive on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 9:28 am

throws the proceeds at its biggest failures.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 9:44 am

That $448 goes to Ed Lee's buddy Randy Shaw, not the homeless.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:03 am

You have provided a great deal of whining and hot air.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:25 am

It's not true. If you are homeless you only get like $62...you get $448 if you are housed. If you are in a shelter the majority of the $400-something goes to the shelter and the remainder (barely enough to eat for a month) goes to you

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:03 am

We should cap the total cost of services at half the current level

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 10:26 am

As someone who is "homeless" and on G/A (and Cal-Fresh ), the cash grant is only 62.dollars which (unless you are 55 years or older) must be worked off at public service jobs such as: clearing buses for MUNI, working the dining room at Glide, cleaning the streets with the Department of Public Works, etc. 6 hours per week x 4 to 5 weeks per month.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 10:22 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 10:34 am

Additional comment: the Cal-Fresh amount is 189.00 in the form of a debit card which does not have to be worked for. 189.00 used for "fast food" means the amount does not last for the entire month- so eating at the soup kitchens and other food give ways helps to budget for the month.
Some drug user obtain and sell their F/S to dishonest vendors for 75% of face value and use the cash gained for drugs/alcohol/ tobacco which may not be purchased using Cal-Fresh .

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 10:49 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 10:59 am

There have been proposals for those who get F/S to work 35~40 hours per month for the benefit.
189.00 divided by 35 equals 5.40 per hour.
Common sense would tie this proposal to the minimum wage level in each different state. SO:
189 divided by 10.25 (California minimum wage) equals 18.43 or rounded off, 18 hours 30 minutes per month .

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 11:46 am

minimum wage laws as are, for instance, prisoners who do work.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 11:57 am

Would you work for 5.40 in San Francisco? Or anywhere? No?... I didn't think so.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

These people have, and beggars can't be choosers

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

You are an idiot.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

So you would have people working for slave wages due to your own arrogance? You ARE an idiot.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

Who is complaining? If you don't work, you don't get paid.
As someone who does work for what he gets (and does volunteer hours as well) I do not see those who do not as contributing to society at large. There are a number of opportunities for community (volunteer) involvement that do require much time yet they help out as a whole- the other "homeless" are noticeable by their absence at such.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 11:33 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 11:38 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... wow, is there SOME problem with providing result producing help as opposed to MEANINGLESS words? Ha,ha,ha ... this is what you get from city agencies. In the article DPH denies access to the HOT workers " Access was denied. It’s not clear why DPH was unwilling to allow a press interview with members of the HOT team... " then the article goes onto speak to the false hope and promises without the necessary services " But the emails suggest that while the city’s HOT team does approach homeless folks to try and persuade them to access services or go to a shelter, the service workers don’t always have full services to direct them to if the homeless individuals agree to do so." and the article QUITE clearly states " “So far, nobody has wanted to enter into shelter or discuss other access to treatment or services.” But even if they had, he said, there wouldn't be too many options for moving forward with recovery."

Go to youtube and type in Jason Garza to see close to 400 videos ... they too show the MEANINGLESS words, illegal tactics and INHUMANITY ...here's a good start ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cP3jCmJFRo&list=TLMzIESqtGRXGT0VX85ctPq... where DPH denies me again with a FAKE restraining order and when I go to the DA (I am told they do NOT care about my legal rights) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eN41g_veF8

Then watch what I get from the other agencies I go to .... such as Supervisor Kim, Supervisor Breed, and Supervisor Weiner, or SFPD, or OCC, or MOD, of HRC or Sheriff or SFPD LGBT Liaison or the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE .. the list goes on and on ...

Homeless and sick people don't have TIME nor Strength to be "DICKED" around as my videos amply show is the GAME. My if I still DO NOT have HELP nor ACCOUNTABILITY and it has been such that I have close to 400 videos and it continues ... WHAT HOPE in HELL is there for the HOMELESS just more MEANINGLESS words.

To finally drive the point home .. THEY do NOT CARE and this is ILLUSION ... http://myownprivateguantanamo.com/settle1.html is where you will find a signed confession by the city dated 2007 after the city broke federal law in 2001 and arrested and denied services. In 2003 I took them to federal court (C02-3485PJH) where they lid and fraud had my case dismissed. It is 2014 and NO ONE from DPH, courts, SFPD, Sheriff nor city attorney have explained. And as you can tell it just continues (watch youtube videos) Keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 5:18 am

But hey - have you considered committing suicide? There are lots of easy ways for you to do so - it would really make the ultimate statement against what has been done to you. Get started soon please.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 11:12 am

Wishing death upon someone who you disagree with?

You're one disturbed sicko. I guess stalking the bay guardian day and night isn't enough to get your sociopathic rocks off.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 11:21 am

without feeling anger, hate and sometimes homicidal expressions.

The left cannot debate dispassionately. They are too obsessed to disagree without being disagreeable

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 11:27 am

He's been filing these comments here for 5 years - litany upon litany of the evils done to him and how no government agency will listen to his screeds. It's prolly terrible to live with that - therefore suicide seems the best option. He should follow the example of Thích Quảng Đức who burned himself alive to protest the violence done to his people. Jason could be just the martyr progressives need. His voice would echo through generations.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

As usual, JGG, it's all about you. Are any of your videos sex tapes?

Posted by Chromefields on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 8:59 am

Jason Grant Garza here to Chromefields ... I am beginning to feel "stalked" ... are you in love with me? My, all the special attention to divert from the truth at hand and evidence (videotapes at youtube under Jason Garza) ... you must have a special reason. Could it be that you are a city worker who does not want the truth exposed? Could it be jealousy since I have all to prove what I say and looking at your comments .. it just seems that all you have to do is attack others. Regardless your diversions and comments will NOT distract me ... nice try .. and please continue to show others your concern for the truth and others. Have a nice day and GOD bless.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 11:03 am
Ick

No thanks, JGG. Do you have a granddaughter?

Posted by Chromefields on Mar. 31, 2014 @ 6:07 am

a complaint regarding "all the human beings who stroll, do drugs, eat, sleep, urinate, defecate and so on, on the sidewalks” is a far cry from "neighbors who complain that they are very bothered by the sight of homeless people"

maybe you don't care if you step in human poop or have someone shooting up in your doorway, but it isn't unreasonable or heartless for those of us who do have an issue with such things to let the powers-that-be know it.

Posted by guestD on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 11:23 am

If you want to live in a safe and clean neighborhood you can move your ass to Ross!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 2:42 pm

I’m very impressed with your interesting post. It has astonishing information. I appreciate with your great, but there is a need to little bit improve in your writing skill..

Posted by clipping path on Apr. 01, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

Im actually more disgusted to see some of the emails going to the HOT Team, a 1.2 million condo and that person is disgusted? Im disgusted that someone has a 1.2 million dollar condo and we have people homeless on the streets

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 1:23 am

Wow, you have a computer? Do you know how many meals for the starving children in Africa could be bought for the price of that computer. Children dying while you tap away on your computer. Disgusting.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2014 @ 7:41 am

The HOTT Team got me into Snior Housing, Got me SSI, and this was December 2011. Yonger People Are Adapted to the life style, as I was, but at 62 I took the Help. The Ladies Hateful Comment reminds me of a London Lady's Comments in Fredrik Engels' Seminal Work "The Condition of the Working Class in England." which work, most do not realise, he wrote while still a Factory Owner's Son, a member of the Capialist Class. Most Lectorers I hear say Engels rather played "CONDX" in later years.

Poor People Used to live in $10.00 a week hotel rooms & make 75 dollars a week Washing Dishes, or Labor Office, I lived that way for years, In Omaha after the Tornado of 1975 & had $10 and rented at room on West Dodge & 24th...Next Day I had a Job.

After Reagan this was over. Every successing generation RAZES old neighbourhoods, to BUILD Cracker Box Condos for Rich Yuppies.

The GROUTH of the ECONOMY forces the MARGONALLY Housed to be Homeless.

I Lost My Arkansas Driver License in 2007 for being Cites," Trasspassing on Rail Road Property" I Expect Every Homeless Hobo has some "Catch22" story like that!
Thats why the Younger had rather live On The Streets....
YOU CAN NOT WIN.

Posted by Guest on May. 06, 2014 @ 7:32 pm

The HOTT Team got me into Snior Housing, Got me SSI, and this was December 2011. Yonger People Are Adapted to the life style, as I was, but at 62 I took the Help. The Ladies Hateful Comment reminds me of a London Lady's Comments in Fredrik Engels' Seminal Work "The Condition of the Working Class in England." which work, most do not realise, he wrote while still a Factory Owner's Son, a member of the Capialist Class. Most Lectorers I hear say Engels rather played "CONDX" in later years.

Poor People Used to live in $10.00 a week hotel rooms & make 75 dollars a week Washing Dishes, or Labor Office, I lived that way for years, In Omaha after the Tornado of 1975 & had $10 and rented at room on West Dodge & 24th...Next Day I had a Job.

After Reagan this was over. Every successing generation RAZES old neighbourhoods, to BUILD Cracker Box Condos for Rich Yuppies.

The GROUTH of the ECONOMY forces the MARGONALLY Housed to be Homeless.

I Lost My Arkansas Driver License in 2007 for being Cites," Trasspassing on Rail Road Property" I Expect Every Homeless Hobo has some "Catch22" story like that!
Thats why the Younger had rather live On The Streets....
YOU CAN NOT WIN.

Posted by Guest on May. 06, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

This looks so great! It is so good to see you posting again! Ok so I'm guessing you mean the next recipe is the pie that Florida is known for????? I'm sooooo excited for that one!!!

Posted by Nadia J. Jacobsen on Jul. 11, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

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