I have not been very happy recently. We have had 24 hour a day screaming and shouting, fighting, brawling, and dealing on my block. It has gone from edgy to nightmare. There are people living on the street in desperate need of psychiatric help, tortured within their own minds, and making sure everybody knows it. The person causing the most trouble was taken away by the police. I don’t know what happened. Something noisily horrendous. I try not to look out there anymore, it is not safe. The men dealing on my block do not look like the kind of men who appreciate being stared at, or curtains twitching, and I need to feel safe. We have had almost a week of respite. The main screamer and chaser of elderly people has not been back.
What is terribly unfair is that society leaves people like the screamer, shouter and self harmer out there with no medical assistance so everybody around has to witness their deterioration and listen to it too. Can you imagine having to listen to someone just outside your apartment screaming a constant scream and yell – and I mean CONSTANT – of ‘fuck you ill kill you ill find you give me your phone fucking cunt…’ then a stream of some of the most awful things I have ever heard anyone say. This white homeless person was calling black people slurs, asian people slurs, and anyone who was not a visible minority would get screamed at to get back, get away, fuck them, death threats, insane diatribe about nothing I could really understand delivered at the top of their lungs. This person was causing damage to the entire homeless community, and they should have been taken for treatment four months ago when they first came onto the street and started up their twisted 24 hour ranting.
You see leaving unwell people on the street allows the housed to make wild sweeping accusations that ‘all homeless’ are like this. It means people push for criminalization and sweeps because they are desperate for sleep and to not have to listen to constant insane evil. The street saw many drug-induced fights during this period. I got screamed at to give them my phone and just about managed to run inside. Going to the shops, leaving my house left me in terror. I have barely recovered. My neighbor, who is in her 80s was prevented from entering our apartment building by one of the individuals, and the police refused to come out saying the person was laying on the street in front of our front door and so they would do nothing. Preventing people getting in and out of their home surely warrants a friendly talk, or a crisis intervention team asking them nicely to move out the way. Instead this poor woman could not get into her own home.
I have ptsd after years of abuse. Listening to this constant violent screaming and shouting has made me feel very unwell. I was shaking, not able to sleep, afraid. My fight or flight kicked in hard. It was not fair on me either. Just as importantly it was not fair on the person having a nervous breakdown. Society must provide a solution, a compassionate caring solution for people suffering mental health breakdowns. Ordinary people cannot be expected to live with the danger and the very loud and intrusive upset in their day to day lives. It will lead to a backlash and increasingly damaging policies which will hurt every single homeless person, especially the huge majority who are perfectly reasonable people who simply have no home.
I worry where the future will lead us. I worry that it will end up in calls for camps to be set up, for people to be bussed to locations, for homeless people to be herded up like animals and their human rights violated. If society dealt with the criminal element and sought to rehabilitate them instead of slap them on the wrist and throw them back out to fail, then we would all be so much safer. If the politicians dealt with the mental health crisis on our streets and in our society instead of forcing it into the lives of the sane and peaceful, then it would be beneficial all around. Ignoring the suffering, letting those having mental health issues continue to negatively impact others, not helping people exit lives of petty crime, is too much a burden to place on a city and its inhabitants. San Francisco is an expensive place to live. People will leave, move out and not return if their day to day lives are made unlivable by the social problems all around. Why pay an average rent of $3397 a month, to live with someone constantly screaming, shitting right onto the street, mugging, smoking crack outside your window so you can’t open it, preventing you from entering and exiting your apartment, fighting, brawling and threatening, when you can leave and pay so much less somewhere else? It is simply not worth it to the average San Franciscan, and becoming increasingly ridiculous to expect people to stay here.
I love San Francisco. It is the safest and most workable option for me. I would like people to respect my needs – I need not to have to listen to 24 hour a day, loud and unignorable mental breakdowns. I need not to be harassed every time I leave my house. I need to feel safe. Things have gone back to the usual street noise and level of danger for the last 5 days. I don’t dare hope that this is permanent. I feel like I am decompressing from a long dive under water. I can finally breathe again and my anxiousness is starting to fade. I cannot listen to a woman screaming and fighting and hurting herself and others 24 hours a day for months on end. It made me feel like giving up. I could not take that constant violence of word and action. I know that fellow residents called the police time and time again. Teams came out to see the person and then left, time and time again. The trash that was collected by these individuals took two flatbed trucks to collect. There were vermin on the streets and the stench meant that I have had to not open my window on some of the year’s hottest days. It was not fair at all…and it was not fair on the person having the breakdown. I hope they are getting some help, but more than that, in the interests of self preservation, I hope they do not return. I really cannot take any more of it.