Over three months, we have met a lot of people experiencing homelessness. Many of them have traveled great lengths to get access to the extensive services that San Francisco provides to those unhoused. Today’s takeaway highlights the number of unhoused people who travel to San Francisco.
I met Daniel and Chris from San Diego early in our distribution days. I had great conversations with both of them, and when asked what brought them to San Francisco, they replied, “things like this [Makeshift Traveler backpack].” After these experiences and interactions, I began to realize that these types of efforts and further services are not provided in our places, even in major cities such as San Diego.
Another example is during a partnership event with Project Homeless Connect; I met Christopher Willis from Oklahoma City. When I met Christopher, it was hours before boarding his flight from San Francisco to Oklahoma City. Christopher had come to San Francisco months prior, hoping to recover from addiction and eventually receive some form of housing from the city. After both of these hopes had fallen through, Christoper decided to head back to Oklahoma City.
The last example is some of the sweetest people I have ever met, Jess and Bob. Jess and Bob had been in San Francisco for a little over six weeks when I met them. They left everything they had in Alabama, including two children, for a better life in San Francisco with the numerous programs and services available to those unhoused. The last time I spoke with them, they were seriously considering a return home to Alabama.
This takeaway is undoubtedly less prominent than the others. Still, it does bring up an interesting question: what challenges or opportunities present themselves with so many of the unhoused community in San Francisco being from other cities or states?