A self-proclaimed’ old-school junkie’ who moved from Texas to San Francisco because ‘it’s f*****g easy’ to be homeless there claims he’s being paid by the city government to live on the streets, getting $620 in cash per month and hundreds of food stamps while he sells Narcan and enjoys Amazon Prime and Netflix on his phone.
‘This right now is literally by choice, literally by choice. If we’re going to be realistic, they pay you to be homeless here,’ James, a homeless man with face tattoos who has been living in San Francisco since June, told Michael Shellenberger, author of ‘San Fransicko,’ a book about how the city’s progressive leaders are worsening homelessness, inequality and crime.
James said it only took one phone call to receive government assistance, including hundreds in cash and food stamps worth approximately $100, and notes that the ‘free money’ is motivation to remain homeless.
‘F*****g phone call bro… Two hundred food stamps and $620 cash a month. Forget about it. Why wouldn’t I do it? You know, it’s f*****g free money dude,’ he explained. ‘Why would I want to pay rent? I’m not doing s**t. I’ve got a f*****g cell phone that I have Amazon Prime and Netflix on.’
The interview comes as the city’s homelessness and drug problems have worsened amid the national opioid crisis that escalated over the course of the pandemic. Both local and federal leaders say they’re working to implement new strategies to combat the drug crisis. San Francisco Mayor London Breed has declared a state of emergency in the city and has vowed to crack down on open-air drug use and drug dealing. Similarly, the Biden administration seeks to limit infections and fatalities among drug users and has created a $30 million grant program to reduce substance abuse to underserved communities.