EVENT: SFHomeless.net Three Year Anniversary Party

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in Arts/Entertainment, Events

Published on January 18, 2010 with 15 Comments

sfhomeless_net.jpg

January 18, 2010

What: SFHOMELESS.NET is throwing its three year anniversary party/fundraiser.  We are asking for a $10 donation at the door to be made to one of the non-profits that keeps SFHomeless.net updated. And we’re also going to have a special guest speaker, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and Wikia! Don’t miss this great opportunity to mingle with users and fans of our wiki!

Where: 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. 111 Minna is on Minna alley, just off of 2nd street, between Mission and Howard.

When: January 21, 2010, from 5:30 p.m to 8:00 p.m, 21 and over.

Click here for more info and/or to RSVP or Facebook, or feel free to just show up!

Ralph E. Stone

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

More Posts

  • Ruth R. Snave

    The illustration for the three-year-anniversary bash for SFHOMELESS.NET prominently displays two big martini glasses.

    Most of the homeless in SF are alcoholics or drug addicts. The leading causes of death among the SF homeless are alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, or a combination of the above.

    The alcoholism and addiction of the SF homeless cause tremendous damage to the homeless themselves, the environments in which they settle, and to the people around them.

    Many advocates for the homeless are in denial about the prime roles of alcoholism and addiction among the SF homeless. They avert their eyes from the toxic narco-subculture that enables homelessness.

    What’s next? – A party for recovery from cigarette addiction with happy displays of cigarettes?

    With people like these as advocates for the homeless, it’s no wonder that homelessness here remains an intractable problem.

  • Arthur, go for a walk, smell the roses – and if you want to be part of the solution, send a donation or lend a helping hand to this noble cause.

    Your opportunistic sniping is all too transparent.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    Luke,

    Thanks for your post above.

    I see that we disagree on a basic issue.

    One of root causes of homelessness in SF is the folly of the city’s homeless advocates. In effect, they act as enablers of homelessness.

    I’ll give you a personal example of what I mean –

    I was standing at the corner of 18th and Castro Streets waiting for the #33 Ashbury bus. There was a homeless advocate at the intersection, handling out leaflets, asking for contributions for a homeless advocacy group.

    Nearby was a homeless male, drunk out of his mind, lying on the sidewalk, slobbering, and looking very unwell.

    I pointed him out to the homeless advocate and asked her to help him. She declined, saying “We just do advocacy.”

    I was the one who called Central Dispatch and had someone come and check him out.

    If homelessness in SF disappeared tomorrow, thousands of staff people would be out of jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars in contract money would dry up.

    It’s in the interest of homeless advocacy groups to have a large homeless population in the city and to maintain a symbiotic relationship with them.

    It’s reasonable to call attention to this unhealthy situation.

  • Benjamin Graff

    Ruth (Arthur): It’s really interesting that any group would be questioned for having a cocktail party fundraiser — this is the status quo for every agency from the corner store to the White House.

    sfhomeless.net serves as a resource manual for both governmental and community-based organizations that provide social services in San Francisco, it is decidedly NOT an advocacy group.

    Your experience sounds disheartening, but you seem to be describing a very particular group of people that were discussed at length in the article here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/21/BAH018S6OO.DTL

    I believe that your experience happened, but I also believe that generalizing opinions from one bad experience is always going to be a mistake. MLK day or not.

    It’s funny, I never hear people saying that the SFSPCA has an interest in maintaining a large population of dogs and cats without safe homes. Maybe it’s time for you to start thinking of the humans on the streets with a little more compassion, and come to terms with the fact that the real problem here is a substantial shortage of housing and employment.

    I wish you well, and must tell you that some of the homeless advocates that I know have built housing, created jobs, and altogether added far more than their share to the local economy.

  • David Beall

    Hi Ruth, I want to take credit for creating the party flyer. If you look at the whole flyer you’ll see that there are about multiple party symbols, randomly chosen by me from Illustrator’s graphics: balloons, numbers, party people, and martini glasses. Our party is being held at a very nice location which happens to serve alcohol to aid in our celebration (see below). We will have food too, but there is no picture of food. I understand that some homeless do have alcohol addiction, and I’m sorry that the two ideas (party and alcoholism) crossed. Next time we have a party I’ll be more careful in creating the flyer.

    But I especially want to respond to the rich advocate/enabler accusation. I read that stuff all the time in the SFGate comments, and it’s very frustrating. I personally don’t know any homeless advocate or service provider that makes a decent living from doing what they do. In fact, most of the ones I know make less than $50,000. Perhaps some of the management at the multi-million dollar agencies make $100,000/year or more, I don’t know, but it’s very few people if there are. Plus, working with the homeless is a very difficult job, although personally satisfying to help people. Only people with a strong calling to help the poor are willing to do it. The clients in housing clinics, or mental health clinics, or addiction clinics, are very thankful for the help they receive, and I don’t believe they would refer to themselves as being enabled. You may be referring to long-term addicts who have still not recovered, and those trying to help those people seem to be enabling them because of the long time it takes to help people in severe distress. That part of the service population is small, and it isn’t fair to judge all service providers that way. And even then it’s the only way to help people, or they might die.

    My own non-profit SF Revival is trying new ways to address that population, and I have seen long-term addicts recover which means there can be a happy ending for people who would otherwise be forgotten. As for the “advocate flyer people” you mention, you might be referring to a notorious group that has since been shut down. If it were me or other people I know, we would have helped that man. I’ve been out to the Castro several times on calls, and met with people to offer assistance.

    Our wiki SFHomeless.net is used by all kinds of members of the community, and is not just for advocates. We provide the best information for resources which are changing all the time, allowing better service. The wiki can be used by the homeless, but most of our use is by service providers who need the best tool to help their clients. It has been a hard three years to convince the community that our wiki was worth the effort, and the testimonies at the party will show that. I don’t have more time or room to go on, but I hope you and others will learn more about what we do, and rest assured I am not getting rich from this. On the contrary, I am giving more than receiving, but it is necessary to help the community evolve its tools to help the needy. Thank you. I hope you can come to our party!

  • Ruth R. Snave

    Thank you, Benjamin Graff, for taking the time to write your thoughtful post above. Some responses follow –

    You say:

    “this is the status quo”

    That’s the whole problem in a nutshell. Thank you for being so concise.

    You say:

    “sfhomeless.net serves as a resource manual for both governmental and community-based organizations that provide social services in San Francisco”

    It’s one thing to provide services; another, to do so with discernment.

    For example, in my neighborhood a service-provider gave away free hypodermic needles, by the handfuls, to anyone who wanted them. This was not needle exchange, which I support, but needle give-away.

    The provider got a big chunk of money from the city for this giveaway. The result was that neighborhood parks, including children’s sandboxes, filled up with thousands of used hypodermic needles.

    Only after neighbors made a big stink did the provider make a change. There was no effort from the city, or by any other enabling entity, to enforce any performances on this provider, or to encourage the provider to be respectful of the neighborhood.

    And that’s the problem. All the forces in the status quo work together to enable the addiction of the homeless, to the detriment of both the homeless themselves and the surrounding neighborhoods.

    It’s time for a correction.

    You say:

    “generalizing opinions from one bad experience is always going to be a mistake. MLK day or not.”

    I have lived in my neighborhood for 35 years. Day in and day out, I have seen countless examples of how Homelessness Inc enables the addiction of the homeless under the guise of helping them. It’s an outrageous and shameful scandal.

    By the way, I had the privilege of hearing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr speak in person, in the 1960s. He never advocated the enabling of addiction.

    You say:

    “Maybe it’s time for you to start thinking of the humans on the streets with a little more compassion.”

    That’s right, anyone who disagrees with your opinions is lacking in compassion. You must feel very satisfied with yourself.

    In any case, the worst possible thing anyone can do for alcoholics and addicts is to enable their addictions and to remove accountability.

    You say:

    “some of the homeless advocates that I know have built housing, created jobs, and altogether added far more than their share to the local economy.”

    There is a need for social-service providers, but they should be held to standards of accountability.

    As things now stand, the city pours hundreds of millions of dollars every year into nonprofits but with no accountability or auditing.

    The effect has been to create a huge nonprofit political complex, which has as much clout at City Hall as the military-industrial complex has with Congress.

    In sum:

    Services for the homeless, but without accountability, enables addiction.

    Funds for the nonprofits, but without accountability, enables corruption.

  • AmericanMark

    Arthur, Ruth, or whatever your name is, I think it’s perfectly obvious this isn’t a party/fundraiser at which the “homeless” are expected to be. It’s a party which will be attended by advocates and supporters of SFHomeless.net’s efforts to provide a resource useful to the advocates on this issue. It’s a party for responsible adults, comprende? I think you do comprende, so why are you making a fuss out of a non-issue? Just feel like raining on someone’s parade? Well, the perfect solution is just to skip this party; better for you and more fun for people trying to do something productive.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    Thank you, David Beall, for your sweet and congenial note above. Here are some thoughts that it stimulated –

    You say:

    “I understand that some homeless do have alcohol addiction, and I’m sorry that the two ideas (party and alcoholism) crossed.”

    In my neighborhood (the Haight-Ashbury), it’s rare to encounter a homeless person who is not an alcoholic or an addict or both.

    They get “medical marijuana” from “medical cannabis dispensaries,” which they sell to tourists and others, including children. With the profits, they get speed, crack, and heroin for themselves.

    They come from every economic class – rich, poor, and middling. What they all have in common are their addictions, which are the prime causes of their homelessness.

    The have created a toxic subculture for themselves, with its own mores and practices, which celebrates addiction and scoffs at recovery efforts. With each passing year, they have become more territorial and aggressive. They are now on the verge of gang formation.

    These facts are rarely mentioned and dealt with by social-services providers. It’s time to remove the blinders.

    You say:

    “I personally don’t know any homeless advocate or service provider that makes a decent living from doing what they do.”

    The ones at the very top do well. Most of the workers fare less well. The volunteers make nothing.

    Regardless of their salary levels, the organizations for which they work should be monitored, audited, and subjected to regular performance reviews.

    None of this is happening.

    You say:

    “The clients in housing clinics, or mental health clinics, or addiction clinics, are very thankful for the help they receive, and I don’t believe they would refer to themselves as being enabled.”

    However, when they deal drugs on the street, or trash neighborhoods, or act aggressively towards members of the public, they must be held accountable for their behavior.

    From what I’ve seen in the Haight, there is large group of people who go through a revolving door. They’re in treatment for a while and do okay. But then they have a relapse, end up back on the street, once again undermining the neighborhood’s safety and sanitation.

    They never seem to show any desire for doing restitution for the damage they do when they’re on their binges. And no one challenges them to think in such terms.

    You say:

    “We provide the best information for resources which are changing all the time, allowing better service.”

    Telling nonprofits about resources is not enough. They also need to be reminded of their civic duties. No one is doing that. Anyone who suggests that it be done, is attacked as lacking in compassion, as you can see from posts earlier in this thread.

    You say:

    “I hope you can come to our party!”

    Your goodness and sweetness come out throughout your post, even to the very end.

    Thanks for the invite!

    However, I try to avoid gatherings where people are drinking or stoning. I’m around that sort of behavior all day long where I live.

    Also, I believe that SF is, in general, a drug-sick city and an alcohol-sick city. Not just the people who live on the streets, but also the people in the mayor’s office, at the board of supes, in the corporate board rooms, at the union halls, and on the staffs of newspapers.

    It causes me great sadness to see this pervasive deterioration. And it makes me angry to see that there is a taboo on discussing it.

  • David Beall

    Sorry for the continuing response, but the party is open to the public including the homeless. Thank you.

  • I find it interesting that you’d take an Ayn Rand objectivist like Jimmy Wales, who has a history of saying one thing but doing quite another, and try to associate him with a cause like homelessness.

    Let me guess — he’s offered to “help” by putting up a Wikia, Inc. wiki (complete with advertising that will click-through to other for-profit Wikia sites) about San Francisco homelessness, and this will be “announced” at the party?

    Read on:
    http://tinyurl.com/Jimbo-myths

  • Ruth R. Snave

    American Mark, in a post above says:

    “this isn’t a party/fundraiser at which the ‘homeless’ are expected to be. It’s a party which will be attended by advocates and supporters…”

    So here we have an event that is organized by people who claim to be supporters of the homeless, designed in such a way as to be toxic to the homeless.

    You don’t see a problem here?

  • Loyolalaw98

    Dave,

    Suggestion – Insert a graphic in the flyer labelled “Chill Pill” and make sure Ruth takes it!

    In the words of my late grandfather Ruth – “get off the cross we need the wood for something else.”

    Loy

  • Ruth R. Snave

    Says Loyolalaw98:

    “In the words of my late grandfather Ruth …”

    What a coincidence! I had a grandfather named Ruth, too!

    One of his favorite sayings:

    “San Francisco knows how to put the profit in nonprofit.”

  • Benjamin Graff

    http://hpn.asu.edu/archives/2001-March/003250.html

    “…Thursday, December 29, 2000

    HOMELESS DEATHS

    Editor — The letter on homeless deaths from Arthur Evans (Letters, Dec. 26) was rhetoric. If it wasn’t, it would have mentioned that deaths from drug overdoses are the result of inadequate health-care and substance-abuse treatment opportunities for poor people. It’s time for Evans to face up to the
    role of money among the addicted. Solutions begin with facing the truth.”

    Your dedication to your cause is admirable, however, your willingness to co-opt a post announcing someone else’s cause is rather objectionable.

    Although I disagree with you, I wish you luck in your continuing efforts to get rid of drugs and community -based organizations in this city you are disgusted by.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    Says Benjamin Graff:

    “deaths from drug overdoses are the result of inadequate health-care and substance-abuse treatment opportunities for poor people.”

    Let’s be honest for a change, and tell it like it is.

    People who are addicted to drugs come every economic class, from the richest to the poorest. True, they may end up living on the street, penniless, as a result of spending all their resources on their addictions. However, addiction is no respecter of class.

    Look at how many rich Hollywood stars have died from drug overdoses and/or alcohol poisoning. Yet many of these same stars enjoyed the best drug-treatment options that anyone could buy.

    The leading causes of death among the homeless are addiction and alcoholism. Yet this fact is hardly ever mentioned when homeless advocates discuss and lament homeless mortality.

    In fact, to the contrary, we find fund-raisers for homeless advocates that boast of the fact that they are selling alcohol.

    Where denial ends, solutions begin.