Bedbug Awareness and Eradication

Bedbugs were almost totally eliminated from U.S. cities in the 1940’s. However, by the early 2000’s there was a resurgence of the bedbug epidemic. The problem spread through many American cities, affecting housing of all types. The Central City S.R.O. Collaborative organized with tenants and other community groups to demand funding for subsidies for low-income tenants. At the urging of this activist group, former Supervisor Chris Daly got $63,000 for subsidized laundry and freezing services for low-income tenants with bedbug infestations, a huge public education campaign for tenants and landlords, and 2 annual forums (one for landlords/tenants and one for social service workers/tenants) that will teach public health code, bedbug cleanup, and tenant advocacy.

In 2010, many housing advocates saw the 2006 bedbug guidelines provided by Department of Public Health has not been very affective in terms of abating and eradicating bedbugs. Therefore, the Bedbug Working Group was formed in January 2011 to provide San Francisco lawmakers with guidance on how to better prevent, identify, control, and abate bedbugs. This groups was comprised of city code enforcement inspectors, tenants, property managers, tenant support services providers, maintenance workers, property supervisors, mental health and tenant advocates, and community organizers who met on weekly basis for two months in order to come up with recommendations in how to revamp its old bedbug guidelines. We came together because we – each in our own way and in our own professional capacity – deal with bedbugs on a regular basis and we think the city can do a better job of abating them, especially for tenants least equipped to deal with them.

In 2012, current Supervisor Jane Kim, sponsored bedbug legislation that would require the Department of Public Heath to collect and disseminate monthly reports from pest control operators about the number of housing units they treated. It would also require landlords to disclose a two-year bedbug history upon request by prospective tenants. The newly revamped bedbug rules and regulations rolled out as of July 1st, 2012.

To view a copy of the new guidelines, please click on the following link.

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