Wednesday, June 22, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC PRESS -- In many newsrooms, “the homeless” is a well-worn catchphrase for the often-anonymous people on the street or in shelters. But many professionals who work with people living on the streets and in shelters on a daily basis find the term offensive and misleading. “People shouldn’t be defined by their housing status,” said Jeff Kositsky, director of San Francisco’s new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “We don’t walk around and call people ‘the opulently housed,’ so I don’t think we should be calling people ‘the homeless.’” In an effort to increase media awareness and sensitivity, the Renaissance Journalism Center and the Community and Media Lab at San Francisco State University organized a June 10 briefing on homelessness in the Bay Area. Local journalists heard from 21 panelists with years of experience in a variety of fields including affordable housing and public health.