This old hippie cat is often seen panhandling out on Haight Street. I bet he spends all the money on catnip.
Because of San Francisco’s year-round moderate weather and good social service programs for people who are down on their luck, this is the place where people from all over the country come to fall apart. There are many homeless drug addicts here.
I did not take any pictures of them because I felt that to do so would be taking advantage of their plight, but I thought that I should make a point of mentioning the issue here because when you visit, you are going to be accosted by some of them somewhere along the line. The heavy concentration is in the Tenderloin and Civic Center districts, which are both neighborhoods that tourists may do well to steer clear of at night. Those of them who have the motivation and energy to make their way over to high-traffic tourist areas to panhandle are harmless for the most part – in fact many of them actually have good manners and charm when they approach you – but some do get a little bit pushy, so be aware and keep your wits about you because your phones, cameras, and other valuables are easy pickings for a quick grab-and-run job if they’re not securely stowed away inside your bags or pockets.
Another high concentration spot is the Haight-Ashbury area. It is perfectly safe on the streets here by day, but if you are moving onward to Golden Gate Park, do not enter through the lower eastern corner across from the end of Haight Street. Many homeless groups and individuals have set up residence in the bushes there and they are not friendly and strangers are not welcome. Walk two blocks north to the Fell Street entrance; it is much safer here and there is much more foot traffic so you won’t be walking through the area alone.