Homeless drug addict paid $820 a month

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A homeless drug addict has given a viral interview explaining the surprising cause he chooses to reside on the streets.

A homeless drug addict has given a candid interview explaining that he chooses to reside on the streets of San Francisco as a result of he’s paid $US820 ($1140) a month in welfare and meals stamps.

“If you’re going to be homeless, it’s pretty f**kin’ easy here,” the person named James tells journalist Michael Shellenberger in a viral clip posted to Twitter, which has been seen greater than 240,000 occasions.

“I mean if we’re going to be realistic they pay you to be homeless here. I mean, I get 620 bucks a month, dude.”

Asked if it was laborious to get, he replies, “F**kin’ phone call. A f**kin’ phone call, bro. Two hundred food stamps and 620 bucks cash a month. Forget about it. Why wouldn’t I do it? You know, it’s f**kin’ free money.”

He provides that his residing scenario “is literally by choice”. “Why would I want to pay rent? I’m not doing s**t,” he says. “I’ve a f***ing cellphone that I have Amazon Prime and Netflix on.”

James, who says he got here to San Francisco from Texas for the medication and the lax enforcement of anti-camping legal guidelines, recounts promoting fentanyl to 2 youngsters seeking to purchase prescription painkiller OxyContin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a report 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses within the first 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, with practically two-thirds attributed to artificial opioids equivalent to fentanyl, which is often produced in China and trafficked throughout the border from Mexico.

“I set it down in front of them and said, ‘This is a gram of fentanyl. This is enough to kill six people that have never used it. What I do to get high is this much’, and I showed them how much I do,” James tells Shellenberger within the clip.

In one other interview, a person named Ben says he often “boosts”, or shoplifts, and breaks into vehicles to pay for his $US60-a-day heroin behavior.

“The majority of homeless people, drugs is integral if not the main reason why you’re out here,” he says.

Shellenberger, the writer of San Fransicko, an investigation into the causes of San Francisco’s homelessness disaster, filmed the interviews final week within the downtown Tenderloin District, on the metropolis’s new “Linkage Center”.

The centre is meant to attach homeless individuals and drug addicts with primary providers like meals and showers, however has change into a scene of rampant drug dealing and use.

Shellenberger was evicted from the centre, which is off-limits to the media, final Thursday after getting into with out authorisation, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

A spokesperson for town’s Department of Emergency Management stated an individual climbed over the fence and was later escorted off the premises by employees.

“I was in the Linkage Center monitoring it as is my right as a citizen,” he instructed the newspaper. “I was covering a secret and illegal medical experiment. I was evicted from the site.”

It comes lower than two months after Mayor London Breed introduced an emergency declaration within the Tenderloin, and vowed to crack down on crime and drug use there.

“It’s time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city to comes to an end,” Ms Breed stated at a December 14 information convention. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement … and less tolerant of all the bullsh*t that has destroyed our city.”

San Francisco has been gripped by a pointy rise in crime, together with brazen acts of mass shoplifting that go unpunished and have resulted in some retailers, together with pharmacy chain Walgreens, permanently closing a variety of shops.

In December, San Francisco residents started taking drastic measures to keep away from having their automobile home windows smashed.

Some have been reportedly leaving their home windows rolled down and doorways unlocked, whereas pictures confirmed others even leaving their boots open.

The metropolis’s long-running homelessness disaster has additionally made it synonymous with public defecation.

In 2018, San Francisco formally commissioned a “Poop Patrol” devoted to eradicating avenue faeces.

SFGate reported in July final yr that issues could also be turning a nook, with stories of avenue faeces down from a record 16,547 within the first half of 2020.

In San Fransicko, Shellenberger pins the blame for the homelessness, drug and crime epidemics – seen in cities throughout the US together with San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland – on progressive Democratic management on the metropolis and state degree.

“How and why do progressives ruin cities?” he asks.

The ebook argues that “the underlying problem isn’t a lack of housing or money for social programs” however “an ideology that designates some people, by identity or experience, as victims entitled to destructive behaviours”.

The controversial writer, whose earlier books centered on local weather change and environmentalism, has received reward from some quarters for the ebook whereas others have been essential of his conclusions.

Columnist Tim Stanley from the UK’s Telegraph gave the ebook 5 stars, describing it as a “must-read expose of the misery caused by an ultraliberal policy experiment”.

“The Golden City, where the hippies wore flowers in their hair, spends 6 per cent of its annual budget on the homeless, including $US31,985 ($A44,600) per head on housing alone,” he writes.

“Yet while homelessness declined nationally from 2005 to 2020, here it almost doubled, to 8124.”

Shellenberger suggests the true drawback is the refusal to crack down on medication.

“San Francisco has effectively gone down the route of decriminalisation, and become a safe space for addicts and pushers,” Stanley writes.

“Shellenberger concludes that at the heart of much of this is a perverse cult of victimhood, reflected in the very language we use. The word ‘homeless’ is passive.

“It implies that the individual is the victim of a social problem beyond their control, i.e. the unfair distribution of property. So long as policymakers believe this, they fail to grasp the complex psychological factors that keep people from making better choices.”

Wes Enzinna from The New York Times, nevertheless, argued Shellenberger “isn’t really interested in having a nuanced debate about failed policies”.

“He wants to redefine homelessness as a problem caused not by poverty or lack of housing but as one caused by addiction, mental illness and ‘disaffiliation’, by which he means ‘choice’,” Enzinna writes.

“Claiming that the homeless choose to live on the streets is an old conservative cliche, but Shellenberger injects it with new life by blaming the ‘pathological altruism’ of woke progressive culture.”

But Enzinna claimed the details “don’t support his argument”.

“According to experts, as many as 30-40 per cent of San Francisco’s unhoused may suffer from some form of mental illness, but addiction and mental illness are often the result of homelessness, or are greatly exacerbated by the stress of living on the streets, not its root cause,” he writes.

“What is ultimately so troubling about San Fransicko isn’t just how much the book gets wrong – it’s the way Shellenberger distorts facts to turn homelessness into a new front of the culture wars.”

frank.chung@news.com.au

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