San Francisco is finally taking tangible steps towards addressing their human waste problem. Although known for its sky-high rents and vibrant culture, SF is also known for its large homeless population. One byproduct of the homeless is the unsightly amount of human waste on the sidewalks.
So now, a pilot program called “Poop Patrol” will be operating in neighborhoods cleaning up the offensive waste. They’re likely to be busy, too, considering that a city 311 service number received over 14,600 calls about piles of human and dog poop since the beginning of the year.
As a techy city, it’s not surprising to hear that Poop Patrol will be drawing on past data to help workers identify and clean up “hot spots.” Residents can expect to start seeing these patrol cars around town next month, starting in the areas around Polk Street, according to Fox News.
The program is also going to be costly, requiring at least $750,000 to operate. There will be six staff members and two trucks with steam cleaners. The goal of the program is not to be reactive, but proactive. Department of Public Works director Mohammed Nuru explained.
“So, what happens is we’re going to take one of those crews out and try to get ahead of those calls and look for these locations so that hopefully we can get less numbers of calls coming in.”
But many people also realize that the patrol is not a cure-all solution, but it will hopefully make things more bearable. One resident pointed out that it’s important to increase access to public restrooms.
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And in fact, the program is also going to change its hours for the 22 public bathrooms that they operate, giving people more opportunities to access toilets throughout the day.
It seems that residents are optimistic about the patrol. Business owner Rashid Aboud of Tobacco Barn said that he’s been a victim of human waste in front of his store in the past. Aboud said that “They come and tell you, ‘Oh we’ll come and clean up. We can’t force them to leave,” detailed KTVU.
Depending on how the pilot program goes, the city may expand the service further.
Human waste isn’t the only thing causing problems on the streets. There’s reports of needles, drug use, and mental problems too. Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom said that the Tenderloin district has “Never been worse. Never in my life,” when he walked through the area last month, reported the Sacramento Bee.
SF has many different services available to homeless of all ages. These include housing for a select number of people.