A homeless man in California recently admitted that he moved to the West Coast from Texas because he knew it was easier to live the homeless lifestyle in San Francisco.
"If you're gonna be homeless, it's pretty f***ing easy here," he said of the Bay Area city. "I mean, if we're gonna be realistic, they pay you to be homeless here."
What are the details?
The homeless man, identified only as James, went on to say that he receives $820 in welfare and food stamps every month and added that living on the street is easier in San Fransisco because the progressive city simply doesn't enforce anti-camping laws.
James' frank admission came as part of a series of street interviews conducted by best-selling author Michael Shellenberger. The author, who is known for "Apocalypse Never" and "San Francscko," posted some of the interviews in a Twitter thread Wednesday.
"People are surprised by these interviews because much of what we've read is propaganda put forward by activists with an agenda [and] reporters who are also ideological but also lazy [and] too scared to ask direct questions of street people," he said in one of the tweets.
James said he started receiving the government assistance with nothing more than a phone call.
"Why wouldn't I do it, it's f***ing free money," he said, adding, "This right now is literally by choice, literally by choice."
Then, offering a window into the rampant drug abuse customary in and around homeless encampments, James went on to claim that just a couple of weeks ago, he sold fentanyl to a 15-year-old.
In another interview, a homeless man identified as Ben claimed that only a small fraction of the homeless in San Fransisco are actually from there. More than 90% he alleged, are from outside the city.
He also pushed back against the prevailing progressive narrative people are predominantly driven to homelessness by poverty. Rather, he said crippling drug addiction is by far the primary cause.
Ben told Shellenberger he supports his drug addiction by engaging in petty crimes like "boosting" (shoplifting and then reselling the items) and breaking into cars.
Both Ben and James said violence and overdoses are commonplace in homeless encampments. James also said that law enforcement officers have no chance of stopping the drug cycle since San Francisco is a sanctuary city. Immigrant dealers who are back on the street within days, he claimed.
Last year, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom caught heat for inviting homeless people from across the country to come pursue "new beginnings" in the Golden State.
"To the extent that people want to come here for new beginnings and all income levels, that's part of the California dream," Newsom said as he rolled out his California Comeback Plan.
Rampant homelessness and crime have been growing problems in San Francisco, in particular, for years. The city's inability to solve the problems is a source of angst for residents. Last summer, a whopping 40% of residents indicated they planned to leave the city over the next few years due to the rapidly deteriorating quality of life.