Andrew Kerr, DCNF
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the streets of her city are flooded with the excrement of the homeless in an interview Friday.
Breed, a Democrat who was inaugurated as San Francisco’s mayor Wednesday, urged homeless advocacy groups that receive money from the city to teach homeless people to “clean up after themselves.”
“There is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” Breed told KNTV. “That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans.”
The streets of San Francisco are littered with a “dangerous mix of drug needles, garbage, and feces”, KNTV’s investigative team reported in February after surveying the city’s streets.
“We see poop, we see pee, we see needles, and we see trash,” preschool teacher Adelita Orellana told KNTV. “Sometimes they ask what is it, and that’s a conversation that’s a little difficult to have with a 2-year old, but we just let them know that those things are full of germs, that they are dangerous, and they should never be touched.”
There are about 7,500 homeless people living in San Francisco according to the city, which will spend nearly $280 million this year on housing services for the homeless.
Breed said San Francisco’s high cost of living cast the city’s homeless onto the streets.
“About 70 percent of the people estimated to be homeless in San Francisco were actually housed in San Francisco before they became homeless,” she said. “We have to make sure people who live here, [and] sadly, people who are homeless here, that they are also held accountable for taking care of our streets.”
It’s unclear how Breed will hold public defecators accountable. She said Friday that harsher penalties for offenders are not on the table.
Instead, she directed her criticism towards homeless advocacy groups, who she said aren’t doing a good enough job teaching their clients how to keep the streets clean.
“I work hard to make sure your programs are funded for the purposes of trying to get these individuals help, and what I am asking you to do is work with your clients and ask them to at least have respect for the community — at least, clean up after themselves and show respect to one another and people in the neighborhood,” she said.
Breed promised to address the homeless problem in San Francisco, but some residents don’t have faith she can steer the ship in the right direction.
“Watch your backs — nobody else is,” The Fed Up Populace Campaign told the city’s residents in a full-page ad Friday.