Homelessness is a major issue in San Francisco, but our eastern neighborhoods bear the majority of the responsibility due to having the highest population of homeless individuals. Our residents should not have to dodge needles and feces while strolling in their neighborhoods, and our homeless residents need supportive services to help them get back on their feet. As Supervisor, I am committed to strategically increasing the City’s resources to create transitional and permanent housing for our homeless population.
Currently, San Francisco shelters do not allow individuals to bring their partners or belongings in with them and many individuals feel unsafe staying there. However, in Navigation Centers, individuals are able to stay for longer periods of time, bring their belongings and their partners, not worry about getting kicked out the next day, and are given the support they need to be able to move into permanent housing – allowing us to focus on connecting people to supportive services and housing so that they can be permanently off the streets. This is why I believe our City needs to both put resources into creating more Navigation Centers and to start running existing city shelters with a similar model.
In addition, we need to work closely with the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) and the Department of Public Works to bring people into supportive services instead of having homeless people simply relocate after a sweep, increase the City’s mental health and addiction treatment services, and end the practice of releasing non-violent, mentally ill and/or addicted individuals from jail directly back to the street. While these measures go into effect, the City should also be piloting additional creative solutions, such as the overnight program I partnered with Supervisor Hillary Ronen to create at Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 School. The program there will turn one of the school’s gyms into a refuge where homeless students and their families can have access to beds, warm dinners, bagged breakfasts, and an opportunity to shower. This is a good short term option for our families, however, I believe we can and should do more.
In the long-term, the City should purchase abandoned buildings, vacant hotels, and old dormitories (like the Academy of Arts property) that we can turn into additional temporary, transitionary, and low-income housing. As Supervisor, I would push our City’s Real Estate Division to aggressively acquire property that we can use to increase housing options, including vacant lots and small sites where affordable and supportive housing can be built. We must increase both of these housing options within the City so that we not only reduce the wait for city shelters but have realistic options for people to transition to after a stay in supportive housing.
In addition, Proposition C – the the ballot measure that would increase funds for homeless, mental health, and addiction services by creating a one half-percent tax on businesses making more that $50 million annually within San Francisco, will give us the resources we need to provide a home for over 4,000 people. I have been a strong proponent of the measure by writing two ballot arguments in favor in the upcoming official ballot guide. I have such strong feelings about this because the reality is that one in 25 children in SFUSD are sleeping without a home every night. Our teachers are working with students traumatized by the instability of homelessness every day. Educating and learning are severely impacted by the crisis occurring in San Francisco and we need Prop C: Our City, Our Home, to give students the housing and support they deserve. Additionally, it’s no secret that San Francisco’s African American population has been among the hardest hit during the housing and homelessness crisis. Supporting Prop C will help house this disproportionate number of African Americans and all homeless individuals living on the streets in San Francisco.
Created an overnight pilot program that turns a gym at Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 School into a refuge where homeless students and their families have access to beds, warm dinners, bagged breakfasts, and an opportunity to shower.
Ensured staffing for the Dogpatch Navigation Center through my organization, Young Community Developers.
Helped develop a successful proposal to bring a new Navigation Center to Bayview, which will be opening on Bayshore in the next month.
Co-sponsored a Board of Education resolution to provide additional resources and housing options for homeless students and their families.