Many years ago, under Mayor Frank Jordan, the Matrix program—see City Journal article— was instituted to deal with the overwhelming problem of homelessness and very aggressive panhandling which was making downtown San Francisco virtually unlivable.
The core of Matrix was taking the homeless to the services able to get them out of homelessness, rather than expecting the homeless to seek out those services; a strategy based on tough love rather than enablement.
After Willie Brown became Mayor, it was stopped, as a 1996 San Francisco Chronicle articler reported.
According to this story from the Huffington Post, the program is returning.
“In the past, when police officers cleared the popular homeless encampment under Interstate 280, the majority of individuals simply returned when the coast was clear.
“But this time, San Francisco officials want to make sure a different outcome ensues. So they’re trying a different tactic.
“Instead of raiding the camp and providing its residents with information on outreach programs, workers are escorting each and every individual — and their belongings — to a triage center nearby. There, they will be able to seek shelter while accessing a variety of services, including mental and physical health checks and housing assistance.
“This is not an appropriate place for human habitation,” San Francisco’s homeless czar, Bevan Dufty, said as the camp was cleared out on Monday. “But everyone’s tired of just pushing people around — the outreach teams, the police, the homeless. So we’re trying something new, and it’s about getting people on the right path.”
“Officials estimate that nearly three dozen homeless people will take refuge in the triage center, where they will be able to stay for three days.”