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.
James said the drug crisis in San Francisco has become incredibly ‘disgusting,’ with dealers providing impure substances to users who then overdose because they take drugs alone.
He also blamed the cops for failing to arrest foreign-born dealers, alleging the police are ‘getting paid with fentanyl.’
‘I’ve talked to the cops here. “I’m literally 10 feet away from the drug dealers talking to you guys, why don’t you go arrest them right now?”’ he said. ‘And they’re like, “arrest them for what?… San Francisco is a sanctuary city. We arrest the Hondurans and we put them in jail, they’re out two days later.”’
‘If they’re letting the Hondurans deal on the corner every day, somebody getting paid with fentanyl,’ James added.