Yes, you read that right. In an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and out of wonderful compassion for its homeless substance abusers, San Francisco is putting them up in hotels and providing free alcohol, marijuana, and methadone.
Here’s how city officials are trying to justify this: "With regard to supporting people who are at risk, or who need to be in quarantine or isolation because they're COVID positive, our focus needs to be on supporting them," said Dr. Grant Colfax from San Francisco's Department of Public Health. "Meeting them where they are so that they can be cared for in the most appropriate way. In the way that's good for them and for our community."
The city's health department said harm reduction strategies are scientifically proven to be more effective than trying to force people to go cold turkey.
The department said staff has received deliveries for medical cannabis for those with prescriptions paid for by the guests or in whatever way they would ordinarily pay for that cannabis.
Excuse me? “In whatever way they would ordinarily pay for the cannabis.” You mean with their homeless person’s credit card? Don’t leave home without it? Oh wait, they don’t have a home.
Fox News had a headline on this story saying “San Francisco gives drugs, alcohol to homeless addicts in hotels during coronavirus, sparking debate."
Gee ya think??
One Twitter user who describes himself as a formerly homeless addict in #recovery advocating for the #truth about homelessness and drug addiction said in a post, “I just found out that homeless placed in hotels in SF are being delivered Alcohol, Weed and Methadone because they identified as an addict/alcoholic for FREE. You're supposed to be offering treatment. This is enabling and is wrong on many levels.”
I just found out that homeless placed in hotels in SF are being delivered Alcohol, Weed and Methadone because they identified as an addict/alcoholic for FREE. You're supposed to be offering treatment. This is enabling and is wrong on many levels. @SF_DPH @sfbos @LondonBreed— T Wolf (@MyTwolffamily) May 2, 2020
San Francisco may be the only California city providing such great room service for homeless people, but it’s not the only city footing the bill for free hotel lodging.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state has “acquired” over 15,000 hotel rooms to shelter homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic, including 5,025 Motel 6 rooms at 47 locations in 19 counties.
San Francisco alone had a goal of providing 8,250 rooms but fell far short of that. Fox News had a rather disturbing fact that “there was no formal punishment for failing to lease the 8,250 hotel rooms.”
The idea of formal punishment and Newsom’s boast of acquiring rooms makes us wonder how motels and hotels are being “encouraged” to participate in the program.
Some cities in southern California are pushing back.
Per Fox News, Los Angeles County prosecutors requested an emergency hearing with a federal judge Friday, alleging the cities of Lawndale and Bell Gardens threatened to terminate city permits for hotels and motels participating in the program.
Laguna Hills in Orange County is also pushing back against county plans to move homeless people into a hotel, the Orange County Register reported Thursday.
The city filed a lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the county's plan "poses a direct threat to the health and safety of the surrounding community.”
For now, the plan is on hold while it is reviewed. “I don’t have enough before me that tells me the government can automatically do this,” Judge Thomas Delaney said.
Listen, we’re all for helping homeless people get back on their feet and off the streets. We’re currently working on two tiny home village communities in our home state of Georgia specifically for homeless veterans. Beyond providing a roof over their heads, we want to provide them with the skills necessary to reintegrate into society and to learn and grow as individuals.
But we don’t believe strong-arming hotels into housing homeless people while delivering them alcohol and drugs (as in San Francisco) is the right approach. It’s certainly not a good “optic” when we’ve got millions of people who are now out of work because the government has deemed them “non-essential.”