Categories: Good San Franciscans

Homelessness is not a Choice

Kelley Cutler is a human rights organizer with the Coalition on Homelessness SF. Kelley described the Coalition’s role as holding government accountable and advocating for people experiencing homelessness – ensuring they have a voice at the table. The Coalition on Homelessness organizes homeless people and front-line service providers to create permanent solutions to homelessness, while working to protect the human rights of those forced to remain on the streets. Cutler claimed, “San Francisco has more anti-homeless laws than any other city in California,” and marginalized individuals can be targeted with a citation for simply sitting on the sidewalk or eating at a bus stop. Citations are designed to place homeless into shelters or move elsewhere but, “there are over 1,000 people on the shelter wait list in San Francisco right now,” Kelley stated. In her 15 years of street outreach experience, she has concluded: “Homelessness is not a choice.”  Cutler recently advocated for a 70-year-old homeless veteran who had his walker taken and thrown away during a law enforcement sweep. Her protest fell on deaf ears while she explained that the man was in the emergency room. Kelley contends, “we have a responsibility and role for the most marginalized people in our society.” She is convicted that, “this is a moral issue, helping someone who is hurting or being marginalized is the right thing to do.” We have tremendous wealth in SF, yet, “we have 3,200 homeless youth in our public-school system. There is no excuse for that!” she protested. Kelley is actively working to engage faith groups on the social justice side of homelessness and believes that the churches involvement can be a game changer for homeless rights in SF. “One thing that San Franciscans can do is stop and see someone else’s humanity and give the gift of a smile,” Kelley encourages. For more information, Kelley Cutler can be contacted through the Coalition on Homelessness (