Footage of unsheltered people camped out around a “family-friendly” San Francisco holiday market underscored the city’s homelessness epidemic.
In a 25-second clip posted to Twitter on Thursday, a person is seen sleeping on the street under a blanket with syringes scattered nearby just outside the Winter Wanderland market in Union Square’s Hallidie Plaza.
Two other apparently unsheltered people are seen on the outskirts of the open air market next to their possessions as two people dressed as a snowman and reindeer danced in the nearly empty plaza.
The footage was shared by a user who goes by “Old Fashioned SF Parent,” that shares content to “raise awareness about collateral damage due to open-air drug scene, anti-kids conditions” in the city.
“Misery, drug abuse, overdosing, drug dealing and mayor’s “Winter Wonderland” [sic] at Hallidie Plaza and Powell BART station at downtown San Francisco. Who is this charade for?,” the user wrote, tagging The Daily Mail, which first reported on the clip.
“I am a property owner just above that Powell BART station,” the unidentified mother of two told the outlet.
“[I’ve seen a] horrible decline since March 2020. It’s a nightmare, it’s all drugs,” she continued, telling the outlet she and her children planned to move to the nearby city of Alameda.
“I have a love/hate relationship with the city. I don’t want to move but I have no choice.”
The scene the woman captured lacked the joyous atmosphere promised by organizers and the local business alliance, who had touted a “cute festive spot with live performances, food, drinks, and shops for stocking stuffers” that also had “cute spots for photos.”
The “family-friendly” market ran through Christmas Eve, organizers said.
City officials estimated that about 20,000 people were homeless in San Francisco this year, or about one in every 40 residents, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
The city had been besieged by retail theft amid downgraded shoplifting laws since the pandemic and real estate prices had been falling over the past year in the notoriously expensive city as many tech workers continued to work remotely.
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