San Francisco spends $3.1m/year on homeless toilets and $65m/year cleaning up poop


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/23/build-toilets.html


#2

San Francisco spends $3.1m/year on homeless toilets and $65m/year cleaning up poop

At least they clean it up, in San Diego it’s left for the rain to wash into the bay, or for you to step in and take it home with you.


#3

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Makes perfect sense


#4

And how much would it cost per year to like actually give them actual housing with a permanent address to use so they can have some stability and be able to do things to get back to being employed, contributing, etc?


#5

Rather than using heavy duty porta-potties, they could probably save money by constructing actual public washrooms connected to the sewer system. A radical new idea, I know.


#6

image


#7

There’s no available space to do that in the dirtiest areas of downtown SF. You’ve have to eminent domain a building or something to put a public toilet in.


#8

Where possible. To start with, you’d want a pilot project for something indestructible and easy to clean.


#9

$20.000 a year to house a homeless person. $80,000 a year to not house them (actually probably higher since the study in question did not include the cost of cleaning up poop and such like incidental expenses)

Sadly, since this is San Francisco we’re talking about, the cost in pearls to be clutched and couches to be fainted upon for NIMBY homeowners (who would weep buckets of tears in City council meetings if formerly homeless people were to be given housing next door to them) is incalculable.

ETA: I think that 20k/year includes the cost of assigning social workers to the formerly homeless people to help them get their lives back together.


#10

Dig a hole and create an under-street toilet.

Next “insoluble problem”?


#11

The hole’s already dug: there’s a subway running under the entirety of lower/mid Market, with stations every few blocks.

The restrooms in the stations have been closed since 9/11/2001 at the request of DHS :roll_eyes:


#12

We already have 25 of those


and a hidden pissoir in Dolores Park :wink:. The porta-potties, of which there aren’t that many, are on wheels, they can roll to wherever needed.

What we really need is for Prop C to pass to add an additional $250-300 million annually to help curb the systemic problem of homelessness itself.
The funding would specifically be for housing for at least 5,000 people, 1,000 new emergency shelter beds and mental health programs for hundreds of street people.


#13

From an Midwest perspective… I can’t imagine wanting to live in San Francisco, homed or unhomed. Yes, I would make more in my profession there, but my quality of life would be severely lower.

Perhaps I should be more thankful for the bitter cold of winter and the undeserved reputation as a “cow town”…


#14

Cool, but those pods look like they might accidentally give me fly DNA. :sunglasses:


#15

The downside of making the economic argument is the possibility that someone has a plan for contemporary pest houses that they are selling for $10k/pop.


#16

The thing is, housing could be built like maybe a mile away and be extremely helpful. The people will go to where the housing is as long as it’s near work opportunities and grocery stores. It doesn’t have to be located precisely where the big problems are located.

One other point, places that have housed the homeless have seen a huge improvement in their health. This benefits everyone. Right now, all of that poop is a huge health hazard to everyone -more so because the homeless tend to have more communicable disease. Housing would be a real win-win.


#17

That’s the thing and has been pointed out years ago and linked to here on BB. The surrounding areas are all happy to welcome the new corporate campus but then get all NIMBY when housing for all the new workers is proposed thus forcing the new workers into 2+ hours commutes running up the price where there is existing housing.


#18

They could just designate a few official “Hamsterdam” areas where homeless people can poop on the street, hobos and crustpunks can panhandle aggressively, and smack addicts can shoot up without getting in trouble with the cops. No eminent domain needed if the city suddenly developed the backbone to choose areas outside certain big tech company offices; suddenly the Prop C opponents would be willing to pony up their pocket change for a bunch of Pit Stop boxes if not proper bathrooms.


#19

There is a decades-long cycle of events in local politics in America, where one generation of public officials says poo in the park is gross and builds a public restroom, the next generation says the public restroom is attracting gross people and locks it up, and the third generation says abandoned buildings are gross and knocks it down. Then the cycle begins again.


#20

Aaaaaand why SD has had a huge public hepatitis problem in recent years (including those delightful notices around the gaslamp district about hepatitis), as well as their “I guess we have to bleach the streets so tourists don’t keep getting hepatitis…” policy.