Create Homeless Rehab Centers in San Francisco

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We are high school sophomores from the Athenian School in Danville, California. It has always shocked us that the streets of San Francisco, which contain some of America’s wealthiest corporations, are home to almost seven thousand homeless people (“How Many People Live on Our Streets?,” San Francisco Chronicle). And, although we are young, we want to help the effort in removing homelessness from America, starting with our home city of San Francisco. Through extensive research, we found that the greatest gap in care for the homeless population is in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. We believe that the best way to help homeless people in San Francisco would be to fund more rehabilitation centers, and we are petitioning the Mayor of San Francisco, Mayor Edwin Lee, to allocate more funding towards these centers.

When I lived on the other side of the world in poverty-stricken India, I saw people in complete destitution every day – people that would walk the crowded streets, barefoot, and beg, hoping to gain at most a few cents. It is from these people that I realized the true effect of homelessness, of how devastating it can be to people's lives. When I moved to the Bay Area, I thought there was no possible way one of the richest regions on earth could be home to so many homeless people. In fact, it was the complete opposite – almost seven thousand homeless people, the second greatest amount in the nation, resided on the city’s streets (“How Many People Live on Our Streets?,” San Francisco Chronicle)!

My friends, who had resided in the Bay Area for most of their lives, had had some personal experience with these people and were more than willing to help them. So, all three of us started to research what the homeless community needed most and designed a project around that need. We found that drug use was especially prominent in the homeless population – in fact, almost 20% of homelessness in San Francisco is caused by drug addiction! We also found that there was something lacking in drug rehabilitation programs: almost 1/4 of homeless people attribute their drug addiction to not having access to proper drug counseling and assistance (“Causes: The Truth About Homelessness,” Downtown Streets Team).

Of course, we were not the first to realize this problem, and there are solutions in place that try to help the homeless population. Scattered throughout the city are sixty rehabilitation centers which cater almost exclusively to the homeless population (“57 Alcohol and Drug Rehab Centers in San Francisco,” However, fifty centers in a city with a population of 10,000 homeless people is not enough – in fact, nationally, there is one rehab center for every 33 homeless people, while in San Francisco, there is one rehab center for every 200 homeless people (“Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment,” National Institute on Drug Abuse). That means that San Francisco has a capacity almost six times less than the country as a whole!

We need to do something about this. It is imperative that Mayor Lee, using city funds, double the number of homeless rehab centers in San Francisco by 2020, because that will greatly help homeless people in San Francisco recover from their drug addictions. Even allocating five million dollars will be enough to open almost ten rehab centers!

Thank you for reading our message and hearing our ideas. Please support our petition, and you will be helping the homeless on our streets.

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