Why San Francisco’s Journalists Are Investigating Homelessness

Mother Jones joins dozens of media outlets to look at our city’s biggest problem—and possible solutions.

A woman sits in front of a tent under San Francisco's Central Freeway in March, after the city began clearing out homeless people who had been camping in the area. AP Photo/Ben Margot


This Wednesday, June 29, Mother Jones will join dozens of Bay Area news and media organizations to begin publishing and airing an ongoing series of stories on homelessness in San Francisco. This push is part of the SF Homeless Project, a recently launched effort whose goals are detailed in the open letter below. Stay tuned as we explore the state of homelessness in our city, as well as its history, causes, and potential solutions.

 

To the city and people of San Francisco:

Like you, we are frustrated, confused, and dismayed by the seemingly intractable problem of homelessness in our city. Like you, we want answers—and change.

We see the misery around us—the 6,600 or more people who live on the streets of San Francisco—and we sense it is worsening. We feel for the people who live in doorways and under freeways, and for the countless others who teeter on the edge of eviction. We empathize with the EMTs, the nurses and doctors, the social workers, and the police. They are on the front lines of this ongoing human catastrophe.

SF Homless Project

Numerous noble, well-intentioned efforts by both public and private entities have surfaced over the decades, yet the problem persists. It is a situation that would disgrace the government of any city. But in the technological and progressive capital of the nation, it is unconscionable.

So beginning today, more than 70 media organizations are taking the unprecedented step of working together to focus attention on this crucial issue.

We will pool our resources—reporting, data analysis, photojournalism, video, websites—and starting Wednesday, June 29, will publish, broadcast, and share a series of stories across all of our outlets. We intend to explore possible solutions, their costs, and viability.

Fundamentally, we are driven by the desire to stop calling what we see on our streets the new normal.

Though this is a united effort, we do not claim to speak with one voice. There are many lenses through which the issue of homelessness can be viewed. However, we do not intend to let a desire for the perfect solution become the enemy of the good. We want to inspire and incite each other as much as we want to prod city and civic leaders.

Fundamentally, we are driven by the desire to stop calling what we see on our streets the new normal. Frustration and resignation are not a healthy psyche for a city.

Our aim is to provide you with the necessary information and potential options to put San Francisco on a better path. Then it will be up to all of us—citizens, activists, public and private agencies, politicians—to work together to get there.

 

Signed,

The SF Homeless Project

@bayareahomeless    |   facebook.com/sfhomelessproject

 

Mother Jones and its partners:

48 Hills

AJ+

AlterNet.org

Bay Area Reporter

Business Insider

BuzzFeed News

CALmatters

Castro Valley Matters

Central City Extra

CityLab

Commonwealth Club

Cor Media

East Bay Times

El Tecolote

Fortune

Fusion

Golden Gate Xpress

Google News Lab

HATCH Beat

Hoodline

Inc.

Ingleside-Excelsior Light

ITVS/OVEE

KALW

KGO 810

KGO-TV/ABC7

KKSF Talk 910

KNTV

KPIX-TV

KQED

KRON4-TV

KTVU-TV

Laney Tower

Marina Times

Mashable

Medium

Micro-documentaries

Mid-Market News

Mission Local

New America Media

Pop-Up Magazine

Renaissance Journalism

Richmond Review

Ripple News

San Francisco Business Times

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco magazine

San Francisco Neighborhood Newspaper Association

San Francisco Public Press

SF Weekly

SFGATE

SFist

Sing Tao Daily

Stories Behind the Fog

Sunset Beacon

TechCrunch

Telemundo 48 KSTS

The California Sunday Magazine

The Castro Courier

The Mercury News

The Potrero View

Timeline

Univision 14 KDTV

Wear Your Voice

West Portal Monthly

World Journal

Youth Radio

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.