SF homelessness nonprofit leader leaves Bay Area as cost of living soars

San Francisco residents know the sadness of seeing a steady stream of friends and colleagues leave the city, frustrated by the exorbitant cost of living and the inability of our leaders to address the desperation on our streets despite a $ 13 billion budget.

Charles Lerner knows this struggle well as a dad, as a homeowner needing more space and as the just-resigned leader of a homelessness nonprofit trying to help address San Francisco’s biggest crisis on the backs of underpaid nonprofit workers. If he couldn’t swing it here as an executive director, the legions of outreach workers, case managers and drug treatment specialists the city needs certainly can’t.

The futility and hypocrisy simply became too much, he said in a series of phone interviews from his new home on the East Coast.

“It’s a beautiful city,” he said of San Francisco. “But it’s fraudulent. We are a fraudulent city. ”

That’s a big charge for a little city, but he has a point. San Francisco and the wider Bay Area pride themselves on being progressive, welcoming, equitable and compassionate, but fail to live up to those ideals.

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