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Police are expelling drug addicts and homeless people to areas far from the site of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.
Life has been getting even tougher for the homeless in San Francisco these days. Along the streets, near the malls, and in the squares, armed San Francisco police are brandishing handcuffs, expelling drug addicts and the homeless who used to reside there to secluded corners of the city.
The motivation behind the move is to present a more polished city image for the leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting being held here, yet it has sparked fierce backlash from within the country.
On Monday, FOX Business correspondent Hillary Vaughn directly confronted U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, questioning whether the U.S. government harbors any sense of embarrassment regarding these hasty measures.
Public anger at the government is not without cause. For major U.S. cities, the rising number of homeless individuals and drug abusers roaming the streets is not a new issue, but rather a long-standing and immense challenge they have been contending with.
On the eve of the #APEC summit in San Francisco, city authorities carried out large-scale measures to ensure order. An operation was carried out to clear the city of homeless people, as well as large-scale cleanup work, especially in the areas where the event… pic.twitter.com/8y2zWHM8f4
Official statistics suggest that with a population of roughly 800,000, San Francisco's homeless people amount to more than 7,000, among whom drug abuse, sexual assaults, and violent crimes are distressingly par for the course.
According to the San Francisco Behavioral Health Services, from January to September, over 620 people died from overdoses locally, averaging two fatal overdoses per day.
Such a stopgap measure is certainly not intended to provide a real solution to this longstanding governance challenge.
This is why, despite the government's forceful eviction efforts, it is still not uncommon to see homeless people scavenging for food in trash cans, mentally unstable individuals shouting at passersby for no reason, and discarded syringes after drug injections on the streets of San Francisco.
Poverty in California increased between 2021 and fall 2023.
In the U.S., the problem is not confined to San Francisco. To truly tackle the governance conundrum, the foremost step for local authorities is to shed their short-sighted approach and confront the issue head-on by engaging with relevant stakeholders to seek viable solutions.
This might entail devising comprehensive urban management regulations, boosting employment, enhancing the social security system, and narrowing the wealth gap.
For all the endeavors to yield results, genuine and substantial actions from the government are crucial, rather than mere slogans or stopgap moves that barely scratch the surface.
To truly derive meaningful outcomes from the leaders' meetings, merely tidying the streets alone won't cut it. The United States needs to demonstrate a candid approach to addressing the issues underlying various challenges, and collaborating effectively with key stakeholders.