As per a report in the New York Post, the homeless population has been relocated to other parts of the city in preparation for the APEC summit.Residents and business owners, however, view these efforts as merely temporary fixes to a more severe and ongoing problem, particularly as drug overdoses continue to be a major issue in the city.
The city’s focus has been on specific areas in the Tenderloin and South of Market (SoMa) neighborhoods, known for their concentrated homeless encampments and visible drug use. The cleanup included clearing tents and increasing police presence around these areas.SoMa resident and business owner, Adam Mesnick, told The Post he has seen temporary housing pop up in hotels for some of the homeless over the past week. “They are just essentially herding the problem around but offering no long-term solutions,” Mesnick said.
SoMa community activist Ricci Lee Wynne noted that the city’s actions demonstrate its capability to address these issues, but only as short-term solutions.
The APEC summit is expected to bring over 20,000 visitors to San Francisco. In preparation, the city has also taken steps to clear open drug use markets in other areas, including around the Nancy Pelosi federal building. This building had previously been overrun by homeless and drug users, leading to federal employees being advised to work from home due to safety concerns.
Despite the cleanup, local business owners like Adam Mesnick, who operates a deli in SoMa, express skepticism about the long-term effectiveness of these measures. They observe that the problem is merely being shifted around without any sustainable solutions being offered.
City officials have been actively working to clear specific streets and areas in anticipation of the summit. This includes clearing notorious intersections known for homeless encampments. However, the efforts are seen as creating an illusion of cleanliness and order, rather than addressing the root causes of homelessness and drug addiction in the city.
The issue of fentanyl-related drug overdoses remains a significant problem in San Francisco. The city is on track to record a record-breaking number of fatal overdoses this year, with fentanyl being a major contributing factor.
In response to the summit, the city has added 300 more beds to its shelters, although it’s unclear how many will be available during the APEC conference. The homelessness department is making efforts to maximize shelter capacity for the community during and after the summit.