- Isn’t San Francisco already spending too much money on homelessness?
- Nothing the city does now is making a difference - how will this be different?
- I don’t trust the city to spend the money right.
- Aren’t there enough services already?
- How will this address dirty streets?
- If we do this, we will just attract homeless people from other places, won’t we?
- I don’t trust the non-profits to do the job right, and these groups are just trying to line their pockets.
- Won’t this measure hurt businesses such as retailers?
- Even if this is funded, where would you find places to house people?
- How will this address the needs of people with mental health issues?
- How would this measure help children?
Isn’t San Francisco already spending too much money on homelessness?
The bulk of the city’s homeless budget serves those already housed. 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, which amounts to less than $3,800 per person for the 15,000 homeless people on our streets. We are failing the thousands of San Franciscans who remain insecurely housed. This measure would more than double our efforts.
For more on this, read Heather Knight’s piece debunking myths about homeless spending or Randy Shaw’s piece about why spending on homelessness makes a difference.
Nothing the city does now is making a difference - how will this be different?
Current city funding has supported almost 10,000 people and families with permanent supportive housing and shelter beds - but this isn’t enough. Prop C would 1) get chronically homeless people off the streets 2) go upstream to make sure children and youth don’t experience long term homelessness and 3) prevent San Franciscans from losing their housing with rental assistance and other forms of creative assistance.
Cities that spend less money are seeing their homeless population increase, while we’re seeing ours stay steady. It’s time to attack this problem with a holistic approach.
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. In 2016, the Budget and Legislative Analyst did a Performance Audit of Homeless Services in San Francisco and concluded that additional resources could help address the urgent homeless crisis. In addition to creating those resources, Prop C creates an oversight committee which will ensure that these funds are being used effectively.
Won’t this measure hurt businesses such as retailers?
Only multi-million corporations making more than $50 million dollars will be impacted by this measure, and these are the same businesses that got corporate tax breaks from the Trump administration. Prop C is a variable tax, averaging ½ of a percent. Since it’s a variable tax, businesses with smaller margins get a smaller tax, and it only taxes income over $50 million. For example, if a business brings in $54 million, only $4 million of that would be taxed and for retail businesses, the tax is less than 2/10ths of a percent.
Even if this is funded, where would you find places to house people?
50% of the funds generated by Prop C would go to housing - there are 4,000 “shovel-ready” sites that have been identified by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD). This includes funding for 1,000 units of vacant SRO’s that could be used if subsidy funding were available, 1500 units of supportive housing in the affordable housing pipeline that is currently unfunded in the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s strategic framework, and 300 vacant or potential development sites that have been identified by the City.
How will this address the needs of people with mental health issues?
25% of the funds generated by Prop C would address needs of people with mental health issues. The funding in our measure for mental health and substance abuse treatment can be broken down into two types of services: 1) street-based care and addiction medicine, and 2) the provision of care inside residential facilities. The system would gear up, with a steady expansion each year, until it reaches the capacity of serving an additional 4,500 individuals, designed 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 family with kids, and ⅕ go to youth.