very little has been written about this 'secondary cost' to the city, which is fire, police and ambulance, and I see it every day. Certain areas of the city are like parking lots for fire and ambulance, including homeless housing like Tenderloin Housing Clinic
but there it is, buried deep in the comments
As a Paramedic in SF we all know Ricky. I deal with homeless folks who do not have the CAPACITY to care for themselves due to either mental or substance (or both) issues. They DO deserve care, they DO deserve compassion and the DO receive these in spades. There is medicare/medical/Glide/Project Homeless Connect/SF City Outreach teams. However, like the article said some folks simply don't want help, and that's their choice.
FACT: About 50% of my calls (via 911) on any given day is for chronic inebriates and/or the HUNDREDS of other 'Ricky's. ANOTHER FACT: Several times a day the city reaches Level Zero, meaning NO AMBULANCES ARE AVAILABLE. I'm not solely pointing the finger at the homeless or the 'I mean well but had I just asked the guy sleeping if he needed help before I called 911' or our tourists (the cities lifeblood) who are shocked that we 'allow them to live like that'.
Summary: When you have a heart attack my response to you will be delayed by Ricky. Sorry.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2010/08/06/BAGE1EQ48E.DTL&plckOnPage=5&plckItemsPerPage=10&plckSort=TimeStampDescending#ixzz0vxbUiHtu
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