San Francisco Chronicle
By Jeff Kositsky
August 9, 2016
Across America, unsheltered homelessness has become an increasingly visible and persistent challenge. San Francisco is far from alone in this — Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas and cities around the country are facing similar challenges. San Francisco has an estimated 3,500 people living on the streets on any given night — up less than 3 percent from 2013.
Accurate data on the size of the encampment population are lacking, making claims about recent growth speculative. However, we all agree that there has been an increase in the visibility of homelessness and encampments. There is a strong relationship between encampment visibility and the city’s ongoing “building boom.” Areas that previously had high concentrations of encampments have either been made inaccessible by development or have become less desirable because of activity in those areas. As people relocate, encampments have begun forming in areas that had previously never seen them. With increased visibility and more elaborate structures, these encampments have elicited growing concern.