Dave Chappelle, the celebrated comedian known for his irreverent humor and fearless commentary on social issues, is never one to shy away from controversy. And during a recent surprise performance at the SF Masonic Auditorium, he didn’t disappoint.
Chappelle took aim at San Francisco’s homelessness crisis, which he referred to as his “second home.” He recounted a recent experience he had at an Indian restaurant in the city’s Tenderloin district, where a homeless person defecated in front of the establishment just as he was walking in.
Chappelle went on to describe the city as a “half ‘Glee,’ half zombie movie,” and bemoaned the fact that the entire city had become like the Tenderloin district. For those unfamiliar, the Tenderloin is known for its crime, homelessness, and drug problems.
The comedian’s criticism comes at a time when San Francisco is struggling to deal with a steep increase in homelessness and crime. It’s estimated that 38,000 people are living on the streets in San Francisco on any given night, a 35% increase since 2019.
Chappelle’s experience with public defecation is unfortunately not unique in the city. In fact, in 2018, Sean Miller created the “Snapcrap” app to make it easier for people to report human feces and used needles on San Francisco’s streets.
While San Francisco has become known as the epicenter of the homelessness crisis, it’s important to note that this is a statewide issue. A recent study found that a third of the entire homeless population in the US, and half of all unsheltered homeless people, live in California.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Point in Time” survey, conducted in January 2022, revealed that at least 30% of all of America’s homeless population live in the Golden State. California is home to the country’s most Continuums of Care, with 44 centers, compared to Florida’s 27.
Chappelle’s comments are a stark reminder of the challenges faced by cities like San Francisco in addressing the homelessness crisis. It’s clear that more needs to be done to provide shelter and support for those in need, and to find solutions that address the root causes of homelessness.