Isn’t San Francisco already spending too much money on homelessness?
San Francisco is currently spending 3% of its budget successfully housing over 7,000 of our poorest residents and sheltering 2,500 more each night. Read more about how we spend money on homelessness. We are failing the thousands of San Franciscans who remain insecurely housed. This measure would more than double our efforts.
Nothing the city does now is making a difference - how will this be different?
Rather than taking a piecemeal approach that manufactures a steady stream of homeless San Franciscans, this measure both gets chronically homeless people off the streets and goes upstream to make sure children and youth don’t experience long term homelessness. It also dams up the stream by preventing San Franciscans from losing their housing with rental and other forms of creative assistance.
I don’t trust the city to spend the money right.
The measure specifically lays out exactly how the funds must be spent. In addition, the funding goes into a separate fund that is overseen by an Oversight Committee. The programs themselves are primarily run by trusted non-profit community organizations.
Aren’t there enough services already?
We have over 1,000 people on our waitlist for shelter each night and thousands on wait lists for housing. We need more resources!
How will this address dirty streets?
Many San Franciscans are concerned about how dirty our streets are. Our City, Our Home would fund bathrooms and sanitation centers to ensure our visitors and residents alike have access to a dignified place to relieve themselves.
If we do this, we will just attract homeless people from other places, won’t we?
Every city thinks they are a magnet for homeless people - whether you are talking about Las Vegas or Seattle. The data shows this is simply not true. The overwhelming majority of homeless San Franciscans became homeless as housed San Franciscans, and this is the same case everywhere else. Most impoverished people stay where their support systems, are, while some do move typically for jobs and family. However, the way housing is allocated in San Francisco is that only long term San Francisco residents get priority.
I don’t trust the non-profits to do the job right, and these groups are just trying to line their pockets.
Non-profits in San Francisco must meet their contractual obligations with the city or they do not get paid. The real problem is that this work is underfunded, and the organizations are overwhelmed by the large numbers of homeless people and don’t have the resources to address the needs of their clients. This measure will ensure that when a homeless person enters into the doors of a community organization, they have housing, shelter, rental assistance, and other tangible benefits to offer.
Won’t this measure hurt businesses such as retailers?
The Trump Administration just gave a corporate tax break, decreasing rates from 35% to 21%. In contrast, this is a very small tax - an average of ½ of a percent - only on income over $50 million. If a business brings in $54 million, only $4 million of that would be taxed. In addition it is variable so that businesses with smaller margins get a smaller tax., for example, retail the tax is less than 2/10ths of a percent.
Even if this is funded, where would you find places to house people?
This initiative was carefully crafted to ensure results. There are 1,000 units of vacant SRO’s that could be used if subsidy funding were available, while the rest of the housing would be subsidized units in planned affordable housing developments and new construction on unused and underutilized city land.
How will this address the needs of people with mental health issues?
One purpose of this measure is to fund intensive street-based mental health and substance abuse care, including treatment facilities linked to housing placement to ensure severely mentally ill and drug addicted people can recover.
How would this measure help children?
This measure would transform the lives of the 1 in 25 public school kids who experience homelessness alongside thousands of youth by requiring that a quarter of the housing go to kids, and ⅕ go to youth.