San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza, which has long been plagued by drugs and homelessness, underwent a transformative makeover just in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. The notorious area, once a hub for stolen goods and drug trade, now boasts a new skate park and vibrant dance performances.
In an effort to clean up the streets and create a more presentable image for the APEC summit, the city authorities have also planted new trees and installed gates. These changes, however, have left some homeless individuals concerned about where they will sleep now.
California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged that the improvements were made with the APEC summit in mind but stressed that ongoing efforts to beautify the city were already underway. San Francisco has been grappling with issues such as drugs, homelessness, and unaffordable housing for years. Despite attempts to address these problems, critics remain skeptical about the long-term impact of these improvements.
Homeless advocates argue that the real solution lies in providing more affordable housing rather than simply moving individuals around. San Francisco’s homelessness rate is significantly higher than that of other American cities.
The topic gained further attention when Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, questioned where the homeless individuals had gone after reports indicated that their tents had been removed. Some residents in districts near the APEC conference also noticed homeless encampments being moved into their neighborhoods.
The cleanup efforts have elicited mixed reactions among the local population. While some appreciate the temporary improvements, others argue that the city needs more sustainable and comprehensive solutions to its ongoing problems.
It remains to be seen whether the changes made to United Nations Plaza will have a lasting impact. As San Francisco grapples with its deep-rooted issues, it is clear that simply sprucing up one area is not enough to address the larger problem at hand.