The crew that spent 1½ hours walking around San Francisco’s downtown peering at every ragged person they could find was led by Mayor Ed Lee, Denis McDonough, President Obama’s chief of staff, and Trent Rhorer, director of the city’s Human Services Agency. It was a remarkable venture, marking the first time such a high-ranking White House official had ever helped the city conduct its biennial homeless count — and the way it got carried out was the opposite of a publicity stunt...This wasn't some low level White House staff/ intern whose report on what he saw would never see the light of day. It was President Obama's f*cking Chief of Staff!!! No one is closer to the President or has more access, other than perhaps VP Joe Biden.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said McDonough, who was participating in his first-ever street count — a survey required of every city, every two years, in order to qualify for federal funding for homeless programs. He stopped for a moment on Market and looked at a sprawl of half a dozen bodies against a wall.
“What I see here, what we just walked through, this is a problem,” he said. “But this is the same sort of challenge we face all over the country. The numbers tell the story. And that’s why this count is so important.”
Here's some of what McDonough saw: