Ian Carrier in 2018, with his sister, April Sloane. Carrier had a habit of giving away his phone to people who needed it more — or getting it stolen — so his family usually only was able to talk to him when he was hospitalized.

When Ian Carrier departed this Earth, he left behind only two items: His wheelchair and his discharge papers from the hospital. 

They were printed up almost exactly a week ago, at 3:20 p.m. on Monday, April 27. Mary Howe found the wheelchair, the papers, and Carrier on Hyde and Eddy one day later. He’d been dead for hours, and it was left to Howe to identify the body. 

She was qualified; Howe had known Carrier for, perhaps, half his life. She’d known him since before outreach workers kept case notes for homeless clients on computers; her earliest set of surviving case notes says she’d spilled coffee all over his earlier set of case notes. 

Carrier was 36. He was not a well man. Starting at age nine or 10, he began hearing voices nobody else could hear and seeing visions nobody else could see. He’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teen. He dropped out of school and traveled the nation with other young people. He’d landed in San Francisco in the early 2000s. He was inside every so often, but more often not. He used drugs; heroin, his father said, “quelled the nightmares and the pain.” He grew sick. His legs were riddled with lesions and sores, and he mostly got around using a wheelchair over the past four years. 

In December, things took a turn for the worse. He was hospitalized on Christmas Day with a fever and a horrid cough and ended up intubated and on a ventilator; his family told the New York Times they wonder if he was an early, undiagnosed COVID-19 patient

His kidneys failed him. He was on heavy dialysis during a monthslong hospital stay. He was discharged onto the street and still tried to make it back to the for thrice-weekly dialysis sessions. This didn’t always happen. He was back in the hospital often. 

On April 27, he was sent not to a hotel room for the city’s vulnerable populations but to the burgeoning tent encampment near the Asian Art Museum. “I was shocked he was getting discharged and I had assumed they’d gotten him one of the hotel rooms,” says Howe, the executive director of the Homeless Youth Alliance. “Ian said he didn’t know what I was talking about.” 

More than most sickly homeless people, Carrier was a man with a cheering section; Howe says she phoned up and attempted to wrangle a hotel room on his behalf. 

It’s hard to shelter in place when you have no shelter and have no place, and what to do — or not do — for  this city’s worst-off has been a matter of no small contention. The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed emergency legislation mandating the city obtain 8,250 hotel rooms by April 26, one day before Carrier’s discharge, and begin putting vulnerable homeless people into them. The mayor, as is her prerogative, blew off this legislation. 

As of May 4, the city has 2,373 hotel units under contract. Only 1,150 are occupied.

But none would ever be occupied by Ian Carrier. “I called the hotel coordination team,” said Howe, “and they said they had nothing available.” 

One day later, he was dead on the street. 

Ian Carrier

I’m sorry,” says April Sloane, Carrier’s older sister, “but it’s completely nonsensical. During a shelter-in-place a man can just check out of the hospital with chronic health conditions and be dropped off on the sidewalk somewhere? It makes me so angry.” 

Vulnerable, sick people being denied hotel rooms and sent to the streets — or back to crowded single-room occupancy hotels — to fend for themselves and possibly sicken others is a problem. But it’s not the problem the city has pushed to the forefront of late. 

Last week, Mayor London Breed claimed that homeless people were beating a path to this city to avail themselves of our largess, and warned them to stay out — a moment that felt uncomfortably like the police chief of Malibu urging Jeff Lebowski to stay out of his beach community. 

Over the weekend, an article appeared in the Chronicle stating that San Francisco has become a “magnet” for homeless hotel-seekers who are “flocking” here. 

The evidence for said claim was strikingly thin. “Field reports” from frontline homeless workers were alluded to but not disclosed, and the city’s fire chief said, essentially, to trust her on this. Two more anonymous sources said, essentially, to trust them on this. One, an EMT, said that homeless people are coming here, dialing 911, claiming to have COVID-19, and being packed off to the hospital — and, potentially, some manner of taxpayer-subsidized treatment or respite. 

Such a 911 call is a documentable event. Your humble narrator has filed a public records request for any such transaction and will share the results when they come. 

Mary Howe’s favorite photo of her with Ian Carrier.

Is San Francisco being overrun by out-of-town homeless interlopers here to avail themselves of our misbegotten generosity? Well, possibly. But no city entity or news article has come close to proving the charges the Chronicle blithely states in its headline. In fact, various city powers-that-be have been claiming that San Francisco would be overrun by out-of-town homeless interlopers for the better part of a generation, going back to the Care-Not-Cash era. 

For such a frequently bandied-about claim, you’d think someone could’ve quantified it by now. But that hasn’t happened. In fact, insofar as any data has been quantified, it reveals the opposite: Per polling, it seems the vast majority of San Francisco homeless people — 70 percent as of 2019 — were living in San Francisco when they became homeless.   

Before she was claiming that homeless people are traveling to San Francisco to eat our lunch in 2020, Breed in 2018 claimed that this would happen if we passed Prop. C. A report by the city economist calmly noted that his office “identified no research that found that expanded homelessness services or facilities increases homelessness.” 

But that was 2018. Could this be happening in 2020? Again, possibly. But all that’s been presented so far is anecdotal evidence. And, considering that this has been a go-to trope for years and years, the burden of proof is on those making this claim to prove that, this time, it’s true and accurate. 

In fact, your humble narrator spoke with half a dozen front-line homeless workers. And they did not feel this to be true or accurate. 

“The Haight is always the place young people come to, but now it’s not the case,” says Howe. “I have not met one person who has come to town in the last two months.” 

Adds Felanie Castro, a case manager at GLIDE, “They’re coming for hotel rooms? The folks who are already here hoping to get hotel rooms are not getting hotel rooms.”

“I have meals, water, masks, sanitizer, Narcan, hygiene supplies, and tents. I see 100 to 200 people a day. And I have not seen an influx of people. I have seen a redistribution of people who were already outside.” 

Homeless front-line worker Shannon Ducharme, who was herself homeless in San Francisco a few years back, says she has, thus far, met one couple from Reno who came to this city in hopes of scoring a hotel room. And that’s it. 

As for the Asian Art Museum encampment the fire chief claimed was 75 percent out-of-towners, “that’s completely untrue,” says Ducharme. “I have been working with all of the guys who are there for four or five years. Some of them I’ve known for 10 years, since before I’ve been working with them.” 

Does that mean people aren’t heading to San Francisco to see what they can get? No. Again, that could be happening. But nobody has come close to proving it, beyond anecdotes. And, if it is happening, it’s news to the people on the street working hand-in-hand with our vulnerable homeless. 

“I am in Bayview, Hunters Point, Potrero, Excelsior, SoMa, Sunnydale, the Mission. I am everywhere,” says Castro. “Every day.” 

Ian Carrier meets his first nephew, not quite 20 years ago.

Ian Carrier was a sick man. He had intimidating facial tattoos. He perambulated in a wheelchair. He drank. He used drugs. He was exactly the person you didn’t make eye contact with as you walked through SoMa or the Mission. 

So you didn’t see a man so generous he’d give away his own shoes to someone who needed them more. You didn’t talk to a witty, funny person who knew how to make his friends feel loved. You didn’t know that, after nearly dying in the hospital in December, Carrier finally admitted he was a man who needed help. Who needed rehab. Who, finally, admitted that things were bad but they could get better — and he wanted to get better. 

But he couldn’t. No rehab site would take someone in such physically poor condition. First, he’d need to get into shape at a convalescent hospital before undergoing rehab — “prehab,” his friend Howe joked. After months of improvement in the hospital, it looked like he’d be able to get into Laguna Honda and strengthen himself. 

But he didn’t. Somehow, Howe says, the paperwork didn’t come through. He was sent instead to a medical respite in SoMa, not far from his old life and old habits. “He didn’t last a day,” said Sloane. 

Instead of getting better, Carrier got worse. He spent the next couple of months bouncing in and out of the hospital. Until, in the midst of a pandemic, he was discharged out onto the street, without a tent. 

And he didn’t last a day. 

“In my memory,” said Sloane, “he will forever be my baby brother.” 

Ian Carrier at 2 years old.

 

If you can, please support our reporting.

 

 

Joe Eskenazi

Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. “Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior...

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72 Comments

      1. Joe, thank you for the article on Ian. It feels all so unreal to us and the pain of not being able save him is crushing. I will let you know what the ME finds.

      2. Funny how I didn’t read where Mary opened up her doors for Ian… I guess her “charity” only starts at OTHER people’s pocket books.

        1. This imbecilic and heartless remark doesn’t really deserve a reply, but for the record, you sociopathic moron: Mary Howe has devoted her entire adult life to working tirelessly, 15 hours a day and usually more, on behalf of people that you wouldn’t even deign to acknowledge as human. She’s singlehandedly saved more lives than anyone I’ve ever met, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of grateful parents and families of these young people–and the young people themselves, who have survived to adulthood thanks to HYA’s support and empowerment–have attested to that endlessly. Ian was on dialysis. He had myriad, serious health issues and had been hospitalized for months at a time, out of necessity. He was discharged from the hospital without anyone being notified. If you think that Mary is the problem here, rather than a nonexistent, incompetent, massive systematic failure, then you’re an idiot. But that’s already obvious. Expecting that Mary should have brought him to her house and left him there while she was working 20-hour days–despite the professional-level care he required, despite his medical needs, despite the fact that to do so flagrantly violates every social-services protocol and best practice that exists and as such would expose her to possible legal action, lawsuits, and more–then I don’t know what to tell you. Beyond notifying you that you’re a heartless moron and a troll. Which you already know.

          1. “despite the professional-level care he required, despite his medical needs” this article claims the City should have parked him in an unsupervised hotel room?

            This is meant to be a hit piece on Mayor Breed but it turns out that our “humble narrator” (really Joe? journalist or novelist??) wrote a story that the comments by people who actually knew Ian show to be about the failure of the system where “Mary” takes our tax dollars and accomplishes nothing more than keeping people on the streets that should not be there.

          2. This is to the idiot who replied, below: he never should have been discharged from the hospital, summarily, in the condition he was in. If the city had been competent enough to place him in a hotel room, that hotel room would have included trained support staff. That’s one of the mayor’s bullshit claims: that it’s “too hard” to place unhoused folks with particular needs in hotel rooms because we don’t have the staff to support them. We DO have the support staff; they’re just serving unhoused people outside, on the street, right now, instead of in safe shelter-in-place environments with running water and indoor bathrooms. Let me guess: you have no clue what the fuck you’re talking about, because you’ve never done this work in your life and have no idea what it entails. Mary has. She’s done it for twenty years. But I guess the long list of lives she’s saved with her work, her presence, her selflessness, pales in comparison with your ignorant, uninformed hot take. Keep on armchair quarterbacking from your sofa while helping absolutely no one and contributing nothing, while other people risk their lives and health every day to make a difference, asshole.

        2. MARY has literally given her life to the homeless kids of haight street her pocket book as if. If it wasn’t for the support and love of mary there are literally hundreds of kids that would not be alive today let alone contributing members of society.

        3. How dare you atempt to discredit Mary Howe. She has done to help and support the struggling, houseless kids that had no one to turn to or call family. She made a family and connects them and makes sure they have a safe place to go when they want to get their shit together but also is right there when they are down and out. Mary is hope. The kids that are grown adults she hasn’t forgot or gave up on. Iv known Ian since I was 13 he first time I spoke with him. He fed me in golden gate park. Ian helped me feel safe when I eventually struggled with drugs and he was there to hug me and congratulate me when I was clean. Iv been clean 2 years now. Last time I saw Ian. He called my name from across the st when I was dropping equipment off to a co worker. I ran across the street and gave him a hug . He was happy, and I felt that he was proud of me. His leg wounds seemed much better than the previous time I saw him. And it made me feel good he was still kicking. Well sit kicking.lol I have him 10 bucks and went back to work. That was the last time I saw him. That was around Christmas time.

    1. Bah. Breed is right; our liberal policies have turned SF into a dystopian nightmare of homeless, shit, filth and entitled resource-sucking useless consumers who are crazy, addicted, or just criminal. Cull the herd. All you virtue-signaling blowhards should take in the homeless yourselves. Don’t be a liar; YOU would never consider taking anyone in, much easier to virtue-signal and pretend you make a difference by woefully lamenting a situation we created, and continue to make worse. Enjoy it. You earned it

        1. No. A lot of what Phuck said is generally agreed with by tons of people here. Not the culling the herd bit but the disgust with people so miserable that they live on cardboard and don’t have the ability to get beyond that. Yeah I know, addiction. But addiction is not an excuse to crowd my sidewalk and scream at night and leave garbage that makes my little side street in the lower Haight an eye sore. Take your handing toiletries and hugs to bums in other people’s neighborhoods somewhere else.

          1. other people’s neighborhood so you own the whole goddamn thing and plus we all know the crazies had SF long before you came to town

          2. Early intervention into these People’s Lives plus the redirecting of tax dollars into social programs PLUS the end of the economic system that allows for super rich and huge amounts of suffering poor…..

            Read Dr King’s book “Where Do We Go from Here?”

            That’s what we need

            Here’s what we don’t need: your regurgitation of tired, massively failed tactics.

            Go back in your time machine to 1961….

            Leave us to solve this without you messing it up, thanks

      1. Enjoy Bakersfield instead, asshole! DO NOT VISIT EITHER. Nobody will miss your garbage personality.

    2. How can the hospital discharge him to the street?
      I say this because the SF Dept of Health website states that “during Covid19 pandemic, hospitals are still allowed to give referrals to shelters.” Was this policy was instituted because of Ian’s death …
      or was this policy in place when Ian was discharged by the hospital and the hospital neglecting to write a shelter referral for Ian…

      1. Ok, no new shelter placements, got it?

        70% of shelter beds must be taken out to compliance with CDC rules.

        They had to throw out 7 out of 10 people in shelters due to Covid-19 regulations, got it?

        There’s no room. Anywhere. Except for FEMA paid for hotel rooms that are being kept vacant as per HSA directives. The HSA wants the rooms empty (& has been keeping them empty for almost 2 months now all the while FEMA & other tax dollars keep paying the room rate day after day…) Keeping them open for the inevitable wave of Covid-19 that’s on its way (hitting LA Homeless & those around them right now, Houston, etc) so when it hits the Homeless population here, we have the hotel rooms to Quarentine them (us) in when it happens.

    3. Question: Ian came to San Francisco in the year 2000. So he’s not a native. Why is it that his sister, Who has been in touch with him, is not taking care of him ? Why if she’s so concerned did she let him continue to live on the streets without medication with schizophrenia?

      1. No one cares what you are wondering. Or thinking. Or supposing. You are greedy, selfish & calloused. Get out of Our City. We don’t like your kind.

  1. Thank you for this honest, respectful story. Great reporting, and so incredibly sad.

  2. Joe, thank you for such a moving tribute. I read this 10 minutes ago, and I can’t stop crying.

    Rest in peace, dear Ian. It breaks my heart to know how much our city failed you. I will take action tonight and organize others to hear the voices of those in our city who need a home, a soft bed, and health care.

    April, if you are reading this, please know that my heart goes out to you. My brother lived with autism, and he died when he was 40. I know it is so hard to lose a sibling who has a disability. There are so many levels of grief.

  3. Lucid, unflichingly honest writing as always. What have we become City of St. Francis? That photo of 2 year old Ian made my soul cry.

  4. Joe, thank you for your respectful and kind reporting and for talking about Ian with tenderness and honesty. Thank you for speaking with those who knew him and loved him and cared for him like Mary and Shannon. Thank you for exposing the ongoing failures of this city’s leadership to do what is right.

  5. Thank you for writing about Ian’s passing with such humanity and mindfulness. It is heartening to find that rare journalist who cares about the human story and the impact that health care and city policies play in Individual outcomes. The photographs of Ian and the loving accounts of those who cared about him were a wonderfully human touch in a story of individual struggle and institutional failure. If only more journalists had the courage and talent to defy the lazy sensational “druggie porn” that is usually pimped out in these situations. Thank for your wonderful and touching account. It saddens me that stories like Ian’s are not new and they will continue to occur until we address the inadequacy of our health systems and policies in supporting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.

    1. Some of us, unlike you, have a moral apprehension tied to having our Sister take care of us.

      Because we have gone into Walgreens & paid taxes on every pair of earbuds, every lighter, every nailclipper we ever bought there, we think it’s more fair for the city, county we paid all that tax to all our 40, 50 year lives to instead take care of us. After all, we didn’t pay a cent of tax to our Sister….the city took those taxes & now we need shelter. It’s unfair for our Sister to have to do the work of our Sister.

      Especially since we paid the city in taxes all these years to do just that, take care of us when we needed it.

      So that’s why the city & county (state, country) should be paying to take care of us & not our Sister. We paid the city/county/state/country to take care of us. Not Our Sister.

  6. Shame on the Mayor. She went ahead and vetoed a UNANIMOUS vote by the Board of Supervisors to open up the city’s vacant hotel rooms. Not only is it inhumane, but it is plain stupid. 1) ER visits are extraordinarily expensive. And we don’t need people to flood an already exhausted healthcare system. 2) This outbreak has shown us that we are only as safe as our weakest link. We are not safe until ALL are safe.

  7. I walk by the corner of 7th and mission every day and know exactly who this man is. But until now I didn’t even know his name. I saw the same kindness and warmth in his eyes that you describe in article. Thank you for writing this piece. You deserved better Ian.

  8. As a society, we are stuck on this question of what to do with adults who cannot realistically take care of themselves in modern society. Restrict their freedoms and help them live, or let them live free and watch them die? I am friends with a schizophrenic person, and have spent countless hours navigating the systems in SF to get him into two different houses (SRO and Conard). Both were fully paid for by SSDI, and in both cases he walked out to live back on the streets. Nothing will change until we decide we’re ok restricting someone’s freedom. If we’re not ok with that, we’ll watch them die around us. This is not a moral or political statement – it’s just a fact. Until we come to a consensus on this part, the city and state are really limited in what they can achieve long term for people like Ian. His last days here could have been more comfortable, yes – but it was a lifetime of failings that brought him to this point. I personally don’t know what the answer is.

    Rest in peace, Ian.

    1. Exactly, Ian over the years had countless attempts from social services agencies and HOT team advocating to even get him care giving support for ADL’s and IADL’s . He refused to even be engaged in the process to keep him safe at home with support. People like Ian need to be conserved, The story is alluding to the city failing him during this COVID-19 crisis. Yes there are hotel rooms, however Ian had opportunities prior to this situation to be housed and chose not to.

      Adults are allowed to make choices and self neglect, As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but cant make him drink

      RIP Ian

      1. What about our freedom to refuse horrific SRO rooms? & having a large portion of our paltry SSI or Welfare(CAAP) allowences used to pay landlords who treat us with illegal tactics like refusal to provide individual locked mailboxes & health department passing shared bathrooms?

        We need help, not the illusion of help.

  9. It’s sad that the streets have become a mental hospital. Urban streets are not the place for society to house the mentally ill. The streets are full of the homeless, for whatever reason, but also people who cruelly torment them. I live on a street where you can hear them screaming at someone to leave them alone at all hours of the night. And you wonder what’s going on. Life shapes us all and some of us are cruelly shaped. And some us cruelly shape others. Life a foot from the gutter is not a story by Hans Christian Anderson.

    1. No, it’s real life & it’s Dark. & Hell is hot. Not a Fairie Tale. Are you old enough to be on the internet alone??

      See Charles Dickens, not HC Andersen. See “Oliver Twist”: Fagin, Nancy, Bill Sykes beating her to death in the end w his cane?? That’s what we got…..More like real life

      Andersen is for babies…..wow, Andersen?

  10. This sad story of Mr. Carrier’s demise — after falling through one crack after another of the present “system” — is yet another tragic and frustrating exposé of the failures of status quo.

    The article drives home the point that we need to reform the ill-conceived/out-of-date Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act, so that society (i.e, our government) can avail itself of the necessary tools– including, most critically, stronger conservatorship laws — to help individuals like Mr. Carrier (who their own family is unable to help.)

    Such reform would stand a better chance of saving the life of Mr. Carrier — before he had descended so fa,r due to his apparent schizophrenia.

    1. You clearly have no understanding of the law. The Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act was quite a significant reform of mental health when it was introduced. But, it only applied to California…until a case came out of Florida. …

      O’Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975)

      The United States Supreme Court ruled that a state cannot constitutionally confine a non-dangerous individual who is capable of surviving safely in freedom by themselves or with the help of willing and responsible family members or friends. Since the trial court jury found, upon ample evidence, that petitioner did so confine respondent, the Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s conclusion that petitioner had violated respondent’s right to liberty.

      This case, which applies to all states, means that your dreams of a return to the abuses of the mentally ill are not going to happen. Evidence base proof is required before someone can be deprived of their rights, and held against their will, and then only for the minimum time needed.

      Simply put, you lost this battle a long time ago.

      1. .. and you’re delighted with the current conditions on our city streets , as a shotgun effect of revenge for everything that has gone wrong ; personal betrayals , disappointments , etc. , in your own life and relationships . Kind of a “ Bwa ! Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! “ moment for you…Destroy All Planets !

    2. Wrong again. We don’t have the facilities to which we will conservator them, remember?? No place to conserve Ian at…that’s why he was sleeping on cardboard. No place. No problem conservitoring him, talk to his Sister, problems finding a place for him & his Covid-19 dammaged kidney/s to go following discharge from the hospital.

      & Had you been paying attention, you’d know dozens of people who met with this same fate over the past 30 years. No problem with conservitoring; problem with finding a place to house those conservitored. Got it? No place for them to sleep except the sidewalk, they are conservitored, they just lack the housing. Ok, hope that simplified it enough for you…..

  11. I knew Ian since the early 2000s. He was a nice guy with severe addictions. He abused his body for over 2 decades. He turned down help on multiple occasions even forced help through arrests via a court ordered counseling. Unfortunately san francisco is a magnet for drugs and abuse. His body just couldn’t take the abuse. Until we decide to take a strong stance against hard drug dealers and forcing people into rehab and counseling we will have more Ians. Although his death wasn’t due to overdose but it should be. Drugs killed him just like the 2 dozen who die of OD a month on the streets. His family couldn’t help him what makes you think the city could?

    1. I agree. We need less arms out to people destroying themselves and more enforcement against tent drug dealers, or just nasty evil men who show up in the night and sell their garbage.

    2. Exactly. When it comes to this, the city’s only response can be locked facilities. Preferably not a jail but a rehab facility. The city enables all of this in the name of harm reduction but does nearly zero on rehabbing people in a meaningful way. If your own family cannot handle you and you have become a burden to the overall society, then the only outcome can be locked rehab facilities until you recover or until someone takes responsibility for you.

  12. “Be not too hard for life is short
    And nothing is given to man

    Be not too hard for soon he’ll die,
    Often no wiser than he began.
    Be not too hard for life is short
    And nothing is given to man.”

    He lived the life he chose. Lots of unanswered question about what other paths were possible. We’re all in the same situation of being subject to our circumstance.

    1. We are. Any one of us who has done something that we soon afterward realize was crazy awful. Apparently any of us can do things that we know is wrong and a few of us do it 24/7, and let’s say this honestly, in a way that makes the lives of everyone us on the streets where we live that much worse. And yes these people often don’t have that control. But we as a society do. It’s not right to march down someone else’s street and hand out hugs and toiletries to people ruining the lives of the people who live on that street. I live on that street.

      1. Will your life be ruined any worse by these people having toiletries? How does giving these people basic necessities for hygiene and survival make your life harder? Also: they live on that street too.

  13. OK I’m calling gaslighting here. Everybody who lives and works and walks in the Mission and SOMA knows what the real street camping situation is about. But just in case, let’s quote verbatim a typical – and when I say typical I mean 99% of complaints – 311 report from Saturday, Location, 15th and Julian. More than 6 people. More than 6 tents/structures.

    “Multiple stolen bikes constantly being taken apart. Unable to sleep due to fighting and screaming. Drugs being smoked, fumes blowing into windows. Why must we be held hostage? Why won’t you clean this up? Do something. This is unacceptable.”

    The real story is the massive waste of time and energy and magical thinking – and gaslighting – of the public about tent camps Also they are herded into areas where big controversial projects are planned, in order to soften up neighborhood opposition aka ‘anything is better than this.’

    1. Wow. That makes sense.

      Sorry to hear about Ian. I have a nephew like him; a heartache to … his mom, after alienating everyone else. Moms are different (though she did get a restraining order too). Can’t really blame the City – if given a hotel room, what was the likelihood Ian would have walked out of it?

      SF *IS* a magnet. maybe not for all the positives (multiple soup kitchens, free tents & supplies, beaucoup drugs)- but just the lack of negatives (cold weather, police hassle, behaviors not criminalized). Every census for 15 yrs reveals about the same number of homeless (roughly 7500), with responses that say up to 70% “resided” in SF prior to becoming homeless (another 10% had been here only about a month – spent their grubstake and then …). But we do house around 1500 of them each year; and still the number remains the same! People that get housed sometimes don’t pay their minimum rent – then get kicked out (Tenderloin Housing Clinic – largest evictor in the City) – thus end back on the street (Q: did you reside in SF before you became homeless? A: er, yes). But there is a new supply of campers taking the place of those we do ‘take care of’.

      It is too bad Ian wasn’t one of the ones to benefit from our largess.

      1. Do you not realize that people become homeless every day? You sound extremely entitled.

        1. There haven’t been any evictions in San Francisco for two months. Besides people exiting the shelter system, there should be no new homeless San Franciscans since March.

  14. Does his death actually have anything to do with COVID or the Crisis? This sounds like the sort of thing that happens in San Francisco all the damn time, and given the rapidity of death it sounds rather like if he’d been in a hotel he’d have been just as dead, and his death would be getting used as an indictment of the whole “put the homeless in hotels” plan.

    This is a true tragedy, but the editorializing in this article is unreal. And misguided, since it seems to re-imagine the tragedy here as both better and worse than reality.

    1. There is no evidence that Ian died due to COVID nor the evidence that a hotel room would have meaningfully changed the outcome. Apparently, if you were to believe other commenters in the thread, the fact that someone with serious illnesses who had been in and out hospitals for 2 decades dying after their latest release is evidence that the mayor has “blood on her hands.”

    2. His family suspects that he had an early undiagnosed case of COVID (as the New York Times reported recently). There’s no reported cause of death yet. Regardless, yes, this happens in SF all the time. One egregious issue here is that he was discharged from the hospital when he was clearly in no shape to be discharged, and no one was notified. And when his caseworker tried to make provisions for him, she was stymied at every turn and told nothing was available, even though his condition and his co-morbidities put him at high risk for dying if he DID get COVID, thus designating him as part of a particularly vulnerable class of people who the city, in theory, is supposed to be prioritizing for placement in shelter. And they didn’t. This is a glaring example of the City having no safety net, no plan in place, no regard for the lives of people on the street. If he had been inside, with medically trained support staff if he needed support staff, he would not have died on the street.

      1. I’m sure his family suspects whatever allows them to make the most compelling case for a lawsuit against the city. Why didn’t they take him in? It’s an extraordinary time — it would’ve only been appropriate.

          1. They complain Ian didn’t have a place to stay but I’m pretty sure credit cards still work internationally and hotel prices are at an all time low.

          2. I see you had another brilliant suggestion to make regarding the behavior of people you don’t know, about a situation you’re completely uninformed about, so here you go: he was hospitalized steadily for 2 months. His family had no reason to suspect he wasn’t still safely hospitalized. The hospital discharged him without notifying anyone. Once discharged, he called his caseworker. She tried to get him a room. He died during the time it took for the City to dither, give her the runaround, and refuse to help him. Despite the fact that unanimous legislation giving all homeless ppl hotel rooms has been sitting in the mayor’s desk for weeks, unsigned. And despite the fact that the City’s own stages policy is to prioritize hotel rooms for ppl on the street who are particularly medically fragile, which Ian was. And despite the fact that the city is currently wasting $82k a day on empty, unused hotel rooms they’d reserved for first responders who aren’t using them. If you still want to perform the mental gymnastics necessary to absolve the city and blame a grieving family for this, go ahead. I hope you sprain something.

  15. What is sad here is that Ian, a popular, good hearted, and well-liked guy, had to rely on the city to save him. He was diagnosed with mental health issues at a teen. So from that age until now, his family and friends were either unable or unwilling to help him, abandoning him to a city bureaucracy to save him – along with tens of thousands of others like him. This final act of the city – who provided him free emergency health care and services along the way – is not what killed him. It’s the thousands of acts before then by himself and his friends and family that contributed to this. I believe that this country’s federal government and private industry has failed us in so many ways over the past few decades+, but to blame the city of SF for this result is taking the easy way out in my opinion.

  16. Thank you, Joe, for covering this story with compassion and in-depth journalism. I wish more news sources did this! My prayers and love go to Ian..RIP..and virtual hugs to his fam and friends.

  17. Good afternoon everyone

    Dear Joe,

    Thank you for taking your time to write this article.

    I have lived in San Francisco since 1963 (I was born here).

    San Francisco has always had unhoused people here and I have always seen compassion towards them.

    This story is very difficult to read. My condolences to his family.

    I also have met Mary on several occasions. I respect her because I see have seen her work for so long. It’s very difficult to work with the marginalized people here in San Francisco. She is very dedicated and I know that no one really pays much mind to the people who committed harshly. I would not either.

    May Ian Rest In Peace

  18. I moved from Ohio to San Francisco in 2018 I was homeless I was on the streets for almost a year-and-a-half the system was very good to me I met this gentleman and he was a really good guy very nice giving and very quiet at the same time but he was harmless God bless the family and him

  19. How about prior to March? Pretty sure there weren’t travel bans between the US and England. I believe Jake is questioning the lack of familial accountability which seems awfully rampant in the people who end up in San Francisco.

  20. “Such a 911 call is a documentable event. Your humble narrator has filed a public records request for any such transaction and will share the results when they come.”

    It’s been 2 months. What have you found???

    I knew Ian from the Haight/GG Park

    I’ve tried thru Mary Howe & the Hive on Haight to get my primary care Dr in touch with HSA & adult co-ordinated Entry to get me into a hotel room (high risk according to my MD at UCSF Primary Care & my Rheumatologist & my Oncologist) but HSA wont talk to them. They said they reviewed my records & I’m not high risk. Just like they said about Ian. People, the tax spenders are lying to you so like Nuru, like Hui, they lie & serve themselves at the cost of the most vulnerable.

    Thank you Joe for working so hard to get the Truth out & for giving Ian the Voice he so certainly deserved. He had SO Many intelligent, kind & important things to say. Thank You for getting his voice out there. You are a hero.

  21. “Such a 911 call is a documentable event. Your humble narrator has filed a public records request for any such transaction and will share the results when they come.”

    Any update on this public records request, or are they claiming a “public health emergency” exception for an indefinite delay?

    Thank you for this article, Joe. I refer others to it often, and your humble narration is most welcome and appreciated.

    1. Thank you!

      I’d meant to follow up.

      Dept. of Emergency Management found ZERO corresponding records.

      JE

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