A few years ago, as part of a program centered on the homeless, eighth graders at the San Francisco Friends School in the Mission read an article in the Chronicle about my drawings and I was invited to speak to these eighth graders at the school about my work. This led to an installation of the drawings in the second floor gallery space of the school in January and February 2018.
I find it gratifying that my work can be a teaching tool for the teachers of these students and that the drawings are perceived as an example of how art, social justice, and action intertwine and intersect. The goal of these drawings has always been to shine a light on injustice and to empower others to make a difference. These students give me such hope for an eventual solution for the problem of those without shelter in this city.
Link to story on the Friends School website
The Goal of the Healthy Streets Initiative is to get people without shelter to the right places and provide more resources to combat unsafe and unhealthy situations. The initiative focuses on five zones where tent camps frequently spring up: The Castro, Civic Center, the Mission. Showplace square and the Embarcadero. San Francisco's mayor, Mark Farrell says, “ We don’t want to just move people around. We are trying to provide placements”
Instead of city resources competing for funding and duplicating efforts, a Healthy Streets Operation Center has been created. All resources are located in the same bldg where officials and first responders gather to confront major emergencies and work with the Department of Emergency Management to respond to non emergency homelessness complaints and connect those living on the streets with health and housing services.
These officials and first responders are from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Health, the Hot Team, the Police Department and the Dept of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. The Center is organized under the Incident Command System that spells out steps for responding to emergency situations. It was started last year as a pilot by the then mayor Ed Lee. In the 28 weeks of this pilot, nearly 274,000 pounds of trash and 60000 used syringes were picked up around Civic Center and 65 to 70 percent of the people ended up accepting some form of city service. The police made 3258 arrests including 637 for alleged felonies.
With sufficient resources, the Healthy Streets Initiative has the promise of being a coordinated effort that could make a positive change for San Francisco's homeless.