A chat with BART’s Homelessness Czar

Daniel Cooperman, BART's Senior Manager of Social Services Partnership (Photo/BART)

CAPITOL WEEKLY PODCAST: The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (which everyone calls BART) is a the lifeline of the Bay Area: a heavy-rail public transit system that operates in five counties with 50 stations. Connecting the suburbs to urban cities through 131 miles of track, BART serves a wildly diverse customer base.

One of the groups most dependent on BART is the region’s homeless population – and that dependence became even more pronounced during the COVID pandemic. As part of a larger Action Plan, BART introduced its first Homelessness Czar (technically, “senior manager of social services”), Daniel Cooperman in 2021.  Cooperman joined us to talk about the challenges and rewards of his very unique job, and explains why elevators figure so prominently in his duties. Plus, we tell you who had the Worst Week in California Politics.

Episode Notes:

1:07 What is a Homeless Czar?

3:07 Progressive policing bureau

5:49 How did you get into this line of work?

8:49 What’s the deal with elevators?

9:42 The impact of the pandemic

10:34 What does the public think?

13:09 The challenges of interagency and intra-agency cooperation

16:39 Federal involvement

17:41 Goals?

19:41 Impact on ridership?

21:40 WWCA

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