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Homeless are Human Beings Also

Yolanda Catzalco  |  Issue: January 2015

On my walks along Mission Street in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of San Francisco, I find many homeless people who live on the streets. Some are Latinos, African Americans, Anglo Americans, Asians, Filipinos, and Native Americans. Some are young, and some are old.

These people don’t choose to be homeless. Those that sleep on the street sometimes protest with Occupy S.F. They protest wealth inequality in the U.S. and in the world.

There are some homeless who get money from the government, but it is not enough to pay for SROs (Single Room Occupancy rooms) in the Tenderloin, the poorest area in San Francisco. Those hotels have one shower per floor of maybe 30 to 50 rooms per floor.

There aren’t enough beds in the shelters. Also some say shelters are infested with lice, bed bugs, and infectious, contagious diseases like tuberculosis; same as in SROs.

The homeless sleep on the streets at night when suddenly the Department of Public Works turns on the water hoses and douses them with water. It gets worse when DPW then “washes sidewalks with chemicals, mostly bleach and Pine Sol which causes dangerous reaction to the health of the homeless.” One Occupy woman was hospitalized with stomach pains. Another Occupy woman who was pregnant lost her baby.

How can a person sleep in the streets, and wake up and either go to work or look for work in the morning? It’s mind-boggling.

It is time to demand that the U.S. government provide housing for all even though people don’t have income and/or don’t have legal immigration papers, nor have enough money for housing.

Don’t turn your back on these people that have nothing to lose but their chains that tie them to the streets.


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