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San Francisco ‘Poop Patrol’ employees make $184,000 a year



San Francisco Pit Stop
An attendant outside a Pit Stop in San Francisco’s
Mission District



  • Employees of San Francisco’s “Poop Patrol” are set to
    earn $71,760 a year, plus an additional $112,918 in
  • The city has set aside $830,977 for the cleanup
    program, which aims to eliminate troubling amounts of feces on
    the streets.
  • San Francisco’s waste problem is the result of a
    mounting homelessness crisis, driven by a lack of affordable

In San Francisco, you can earn more than $184,000 a year in
salary and benefits for cleaning up feces.

As a member of the city’s “Poop Patrol,” workers are entitled
to $71,760 a year, plus an additional $112,918 in
benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, the
Francisco Chronicle

In August, the city announced that five staffers from the San
Francisco Department of Public Works would soon roam the
Tenderloin neighborhood — where
nearly half
 of the city’s homeless population is
located — in search of waste. The staffers will begin
their efforts each afternoon, equipped with a steam cleaner for
sanitizing the streets.

The full budget for the initiative 
$830,977— signifies a concerted effort to
address the city’s
mounting feces problem
, which has resulted in more than
14,500 calls to 311, the city’s non-emergency services
line, since the beginning of the year.

The issue isn’t just a matter of dog owners failing to pick up
after their pets. As San Francisco faces a shortage of affordable
housing, it has struggled to accommodate its
more than 7,400 homeless

Though the city’s overall homeless population is declining, the
share of chronically homeless people in San Francisco is still

exceedingly high
compared to most other cities. This
pattern is starkly contrasted with the city’s excess wealth: On
average, the typical San Francisco resident earns about $96,677 a
year, or
nearly double
the median household income in the US.

The city’s feces problem is a visible reminder of the gap between
its rich and poor. Since taking office in June, San
Francisco Mayor London Breed has signaled her concern by walking
through the city unannounced, in search of waste. In July, she

told NBC
 she had encountered “more feces” on the city
streets than ever before. 

While the Tenderloin remains the epicenter of the city’s
homelessness crisis, many residents outside the city center have
begun to complain about excess feces in their neighborhoods due
to the
of homeless populations. Should Mayor Breed successfully clean up
the city’s streets, she’ll not only deliver on a major campaign
promise, but also demonstrate that she’s capable of rapid

As part of this mission, the city has channeled additional
funds into its existing programs.

new budget
allots more than $1 million for updates to Pit
Stop — a program that distributes mobile toilets and dog
waste stations in various neighborhoods. The budget allows for
five additional toilets and expanded hours of operation at five
locations. At the moment, only 13 of the city’s 22 units are open
daily, with units
 at 8 p.m. at the latest. This leaves a
considerable amount of time during which toilets are unavailable
to homeless residents.

As a complement to Pit Stop, San Francisco has set aside
nearly $3 million for a “hot spots” crew in charge of cleaning
the areas near homeless encampments. But the city has struggled
to stay ahead of the situation, with many areas now
being compared
to the world’s poorest slums.

While the high salaries of sanitation workers may
incentivize further cleanup, the city will ultimately have to
contend with its affordability crisis if it hopes to eliminate
the problem altogether. This means addressing restrictive
zoning laws
, which make it both difficult and expensive to
add affordable development. It also means grappling with the
steady influx of tech workers, who have concentrated in downtown
areas due to the city’s
limited public transportation

Though Breed has promised to clean the streets within three
months of her inauguration, the real challenge will take many
years to address.

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