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UN expert decries homeless conditions in Bay Area as ‘cruel,’ ‘unacceptable’

January 24, 2018


“Do they have anywhere else to go?” human rights advocate asks of SF population

Leilani Farha, a special rapporteur on Adequate Housing for the United Nations (special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the UN’s Human Rights Council to do fact-finding missions), made an unofficial visit the Bay Area last week and gave a grim assessment of local conditions for the homeless. Farha describes the “cruelty” of chronic homelessness in Oakland and San Francisco.

A reporter for the UK’s Guardian newspaper accompanied Farha and recorded her reactions to Oakland homeless camps:

“In international human rights law,” Farha said, “providing shelter to people who are homeless is the absolute minimum standard for any country, regardless of resources.”

[…] Farha was struck by the stories she heard of homeless people losing their few possessions in encampment sweeps, and laws that criminalize sitting on sidewalks or food sharing. “There’s a cruelty here that I don’t think I’ve seen,” she said.

Farha noted that, although the Bay Area enjoys breathtaking levels of wealth, conditions for the unhoused are comparable to those in chronically-impoverished countries…(more)

San Francisco or Mumbai? UN envoy encounters homeless life in California

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