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October 5, 2022
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The Great San Francisco Food Fight
Produced by: Gary Covino
Activist Keith McHenry and the group he helped found, Food Not Bombs, have been feeding homeless people on the streets of San Francisco for years. Their activities have often put them at odds with the police and municipal authorities.

In August of 1993, responding to the influx of homeless people into San Francisco, the administration of Mayor Frank Jordan instituted the Matrix Program, which was described as a comprehensive attempt to deal with the problem of homelessness in San Francisco, and which involved a combination of police enforcement actions and social outreach initiatives. The Matrix Program has been the subject of heated debate and controversy in San Francisco since its inception. The program's critics say it is really an organized system of police harassment of the homeless, designed to run them out of certain parts of San Francisco, or out of the city altogether. The Mayor maintains that the real purpose of Matrix is to help homeless people obtain help through government and private social aid programs.

Since the Matrix Program began, confrontations between Food Not Bombs and the police have escalated, and arrests of Food Not Bombs activists have increased. Despite this, Food Not Bombs continues its daily feeding programs, while its members face arrest and possible imprisonment.

In "The Great San Francisco Food Fight," producer Gary Covino traces the history of the Matrix Program and the debate and soul-searching it has prompted in San Francisco, as a way of examining the situation of homeless people in cities throughout the United States.

Programs by Gary Covino

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