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San Francisco’s Homeless Population Is Surging — And Getting More Violent

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

San Francisco’s homeless are getting more violent as their population skyrockets, with one local resident being attacked while on a walk with his child, CBS San Francisco reported Monday night.

California makes up 25 percent of the country’s homeless population, and San Francisco has among of the most severe housing problems in the state. The city’s North Beach neighborhood held a meeting Monday night to discuss the issue after a mentally ill homeless man “viciously” attacked a father walking his young son this weekend, CBS reported.

“We’ve got increased homeless problems and people who heretofore haven’t been violent or aggressive, and now are. And everybody is at their wit’s end,” City Supervisor Aaron Peskin told CBS.

Peskin, who attended the meeting, asked San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott to organize more patrols around parks and plan increased security for major events.

While police said they were already acting on Peskin’s request, residents saw it differently when asked if the meeting gave them confidence the problem was being solved. (RELATED: California Officials Boot Homeless People From Camps)

“No, this is actually making me really angry,” China Halton told CBS. “Because I hear nothing. And as someone who is in North Beach every day, on a very busy corner, I see no one. I see no authority managing any of it.”

San Francisco is holding a ballot initiative in November to decide whether the city should increase taxes on businesses to fund its homelessness programs. If passed, the initiative would tax a company’s revenue beyond $50 million each year at roughly 0.5 percent. The tax would hit the tech-heavy industry in Silicon Valley the hardest, where over 1,000 businesses earn more than $50 million a year.

The tax would raise about $300 million a year, doubling the funding for the city’s existing homelessness programs.

“I think the city is really ready for this,” said Christin Evans, a San Francisco small business owner and one of three petitioners on the measure. “We have a lot of momentum behind us, and more than a majority of the voting population is renters. We’re polling very well.”

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