San Francisco Now Has a 'Poop Patrol'

San Francisco Battles With Homelessness Problem

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It's well-known that San Francisco has a homeless problem which results in sidewalks being covered in feces.

Now, ABC reports that the city is trying to fight this problem by adding public toilets on the streets.

Ahmed Al Barak owns a corner market and he said that the neighborhood was covered in cardboard and syringes and homeless people couldn't find a safe place at night.

Now, he says he sees a lot fewer people "relieve themselves" outside his business.

"We used to have a disaster here. I used to call the city all the time to come and clean, because they don't know where to go," he stated, "what can you do?"

This program, "Pit Stop", actually started in 2014, but has recently increased from 3 toilets to 25.

Last year, it was announced that the city would be forming a "poop patrol" which consisted of six people who would earn over $70,000 a year for being part of this cleaning crew.

This staff is what makes these Pit Stops work with each toilet costing around $200,000 a year to operate.

Lena Miller, the founder of the nonprofit organization Hunters Point Family said this:

"Really what we're doing is we're creating this space where people know that they can walk into it, and it's going to smell good. It's going to look good. There won't be trash everywhere, and they're safe. And I think that makes all the difference in the world".

The program also is giving work to ex-cons. For example, Nelson Butler was 19 when he went to prison for killing a person. 30 years later, he got out and got a job at Pit Stop. Now, he says:

"The reality is I'm a security guard. I was a babysitter, I was a social worker, I was a counselor. I did a lot of things that was not necessarily in the scope of my job description, but this is my community. So my thought was, if I saw somebody that needed help, that's why I'm there - to help".

At first, LA Councilmember Mike Bonin thought that these facilities were too expensive, but now sees the upsides in keeping the streets clean:

"I heard from everyone, from people affiliated with law enforcement, from people who live in the neighborhood, from homeless advocates, from people who are homeless themselves, that it's important to have a staff to make sure they stay clean and free of destruction or abuse".

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