This issue is directed to my fellow hosts in San Francisco. After my guest's first full day of sightseeing, when we're chatting in the kitchen over breakfast in the morning or over a glass of wine in the evening, I very often hear this, especially from my foreign guests: "San Francisco is so beautiful, but we're shocked by the number of homeless in the streets. What's going on?". This comment is so common that I now pre-empt the inevitable by talking about the homeless issue before my guests leave the house for the first time, usually along the lines of , "You will see many homeless people in the streets. California has a severe affordable housing crisis, and San Francisco is the epicenter. The city is simply too expensive for the working and middle class, and there isn't enough shelter space or beds in mental health facilities or drug treatment centers to accomodate the need. The city spends many millions a year on alleviating the crisis, but we don't get enough help at the federal level. While disturbing to see, the homeless will not harm you and there's no need to be afraid". That usually leads into a longer conversation about homelessness in general and their own experiences in their home countries. I also tell them that since San Francisco is a geographically small city (7 miles x 7 miles), the homeless are very concentrated in the Northeast quadrant of the city where many of the tourist sites are. How do other guests address this issue? I recently got a 5 star review from a guest that alluded to the problem: "We absolutely loved staying at Michael’s apartment. He is an extremely welcoming host. The apartment is beautiful. There is such fascinating artwork to look at everywhere and it is spotlessly clean. The bed is extremely comfortable and we really enjoyed the breakfast. We would definitely stay here again- although we would use Uber to get around. We walked all the way down Mission Street not knowing what to expect before we started. It was certainly an eye opening experience to the other side of San Fransisco!". I wish the guest hadn't mentioned a problem that I have absolutely no control over, but at least she didn't go into too much detail. Hopefully whoever is elected our new Mayor next week will address this crisis.
maybe offer one of the homeless folks a free week stay and thank the woman for offering her bed to someone who would appreciate it.
@Michael956, I have been struggling with similar issues - to warn guests or not. We have a private in-law unit, so I don't usually interact with the guests. We are in the Mission between the 16th st BART and Dolores park, so there are several mentally ill, substance abusers, vandals, and people camping nearby. 100+ reviews and no guests have mentioned homeless issues in a review - so I have decided not to warn the guests.
For me, hosting has become very stressful with the increase in urban camping, etc. We occasionally have find someone injecting or sleeping in our garage door nook where guests enter/exit the side door. To prevent this we hose down the area late at night. We get up early to make sure anyone sleeping in the nook leaves and clean up trash, etc. I call HOT (homeless outreach team) to send an outreach team for non-dangerous addicts/mentally ill/urban campers. The result is that I'm blocking days so I can have some breaks when I don't have to be a superhost.
@Stephanie6 I live on Capp St. in the Mission. Last weekend I had a houseful of Airbnb guests (I rent 3 rooms in my flat), and at 3:30 a.m.. all six guests were awakened by blood-curdling screams coming from the street. One guest described it as "something out of a Hollywood film". I was very embarrassed. Yes, it is very stressful. I can control everything inside my home, but I have no control over the madness outside. It was the topic of conversation among all the guests at breakfast the next morning. Most of the guests took it well, but one guest seemed upset and I'm hoping it isn't reflected in the review he leaves me. The city must do something about this crisis.
politics politics politics.........take the leaf out of the etiquette book......
Never talk politics, religion or money.
Then of course some cities world wide are discouraging air bnb rentals.....because the reasoning goes that short term rentals like air bnb exacerbate the housing crisis!
Finally If you don’t like or agree with politics, local or National.....go out and vote!
@Victoria567 This is a San Francisco specific conversation, and San Francisco is a very political city. Taking a leaf out of another book....if you don't have anything constructive to add, then stay out of the conversation.
stifling open debate by hiding all your problems under the carpet?....no wonder guests complain about location....at least be open about it in your description......if I want to stay in an inner city ghetto...I at least want to be prepared for the odd cultural shock well beforehand!
On the subject of homelessness it’s a global problem and many governments are tackling this by restricting air bnb rentals.
@Victoria567, @Michael956 clearly states where his location is, the whole city of LA has the same problems as I understood, not only his neighbourhood. Seeing homeless people might be disturbing coming from a smaller town I guess but there is only so much he can do as a host. He provides safe enviroment for his guests while educating them on the city they are about to experience maybe many for the first time. There is no need for such harsh responce, he doesn't talk about politics, he is talking about the problems he faces daily and how to fix them.
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