THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE MEASURE
WILLIAM “ANUBIS” DAUGHERTY Peer Researcher, Our City Our Home Coalition | Former Youth Advisory Board Member | Former Larkin Outreach Worker
I worked on the Prop C campaign because I thought it would be beneficial for homeless people- I was homeless for 6 years and thought it would be a good use of my time. I was a phone banker and on the last day we were on a cable car. As a phone banker, I would call people and tell people to vote for prop C.
Prop C was different because it came from the Coalition on Homelessness. It didn’t come from a politician. Historically when it comes to homelessness and homeless issues, politicians have adversely affected said issues, and Prop C was better because it came from people who knew better, it came from what homeless people wanted. It was more in touch than a politician. Not necessarily to any fault of their own. You work with the homeless population and you know what they want.
Prop C is important to me because it helps homeless people. My friends and family would be housed and safe. They would get the services they need to better their lives.
If Prop C were around when I was homeless it would have given me and my friends more housing opportunities. Seeing people unhoused in one of the wealthiest cities in the country everyday shows why we need Prop C.
As a peer researcher, former Youth Advisory Board member, and a past Larkin outreach worker it’s not hard to see why we need Prop C. It’s housing.
TRACEY MIXON Peer Organizer, Coalition on Homelessness | Peer Researcher, Our City Our Home Coalition | Family Advisory Council Member | Tipping Point Community
I was a new employee at the COH and I did a lot of media interviews supporting Prop C while being homeless at the same time. I did a lot of outreach about Prop C, going out passing out information, giving pamphlets and explaining what Prop C was and how it would benefit a lot of people including myself. With my experience being homeless, I felt like more help is needed in SF to help people get out of homelessness to get the help they need for mental health, for drug addiction.
Right now I’m housed, however I know a lot of people that prop C would benefit. Single individuals, people with families. It’s hard, I have survivor's guilt because I feel like… I was in the shelter with a lot of ladies I formed a bond without children formed bonds and we looked out for each others kids. And I was the first one to get housed, even though I got kicked out of the shelter, I was the first. I feel like I was lucky but it shouldn’t have to be about luck.
Voters of SF have spoken and say it’s [Prop C’s] desperately needed because they [voters] might not be on the frontlines like myself, but they see homeless people everyday. There’s no where you’re going to go in SF where you don’t see them. You may not know their stories, but be grateful you have a hope to go to at night. The wraparound services mean so much. It’s easier when you’re housed to get help with other things like your mental health and drug issues. Families will be able to keep their families together.
TIMOTHY “TJ” JOHNSTON Street Sheet Editor, Coalition on Homelessness | Peer Researcher, Our City Our Home Coalition | Advisory Board, Tipping Point Community
I canvassed, went door to door, left flyers and through Street Sheet I helped put the word out about what Prop C does. Prop C represented an opportunity for the city to actually put an end to the homelessness crisis and by demonstrating a commitment to allocating resources to get people out of homelessness or prevent people from becoming homeless. Also providing services which treat the byproducts of homelessness such as ill health effects.
[Prop C would help me ] by doubling the amount of money that the city dedicates to homeless services, it would make it easier for the city to provide a path out of housing insecurity for people such as myself and other people at the Coalition and in the city.
I believe housing is a human right and by committing resources to ending homelessness or cutting one person’s homeless episode short by providing housing, that shows the city is committed fulfilling that human right.
I think Prop C identified the areas where we need to address homelessness in terms of housing and the services that are available and the thing that appealed to me was that it came from the ground up. Once again, the people with the lived experience of homelessness are the true experts on homelessness. If it came from an elected official or political member, who likely don’t have the lived experience, it wouldn’t have the same impact. Prop C pretty much originated from a community process. People who faced these crises were approached to shine a light on what areas of homeless services should be shored up. There's a very basic thing about prop C which I think appealed to myself and the electorate is that it also speaks to economic inequality crisis that SF and the Bay Area is facing. It’s basically standing up to wealthy corporations and telling them you have to pay your fair share. You cannot make millions and billions of dollars in this city, and complain about the visible poverty you see on the streets. If you do want to be a good corporate citizen, you have to pitch in. The time to invest in our community is long past due, so I would have to say to the California Business Roundtable, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Apartment Association, is to stop digging around in the courtrooms with your appeal, and let prop c take effect so we can rebuild our communities.
SOPHIA “FIA” THIBODEAUX Peer Researcher, Our City Our Home Coalition | Housing Justice Member, Coalition on Homelessness
I worked on Prop C because I knew what it stood for and what it would mean for me and my family to have that campaign go through. It made me have a sense of persistence, to never back down and keep fighting for what's right. I spoke at a lot of events, phone-banked, and did an interview and photoshoot with Medium. Doing these things is what gave me the spark to keep fighting and to continue fighting after I’m housed for those who still need housing.
The benefits of prop C would help me personally with my mental issues to be able to have housing and get guidance for me and my kids to have a normal life. Prop C would help me and my family to be normal again. Right now me and my kids are not in the best position, we see each other maybe four times out of the week, when we should see each other everyday. It takes a toll on a person and messes with your mental. This is why prop C is important to help me, my family, and other families like myself. Getting up is harder than falling cause you have to have the will and determination. Being homeless tends to steal that from you. You become someone else and you’re not yourself, that’s why mental health and homelessness has a great connection.
Prop C is important because I feel if the millionaires will just take one second, one ounce, one breath, to the homeless so that we can breathe easy and have housing, it will make for a better San Francisco. Our neighborhoods will be neighborhoods and not chaotic, drug addicted corners.
Having Prop C here at the Coalition and initiated by real homeless people and staff that actually care about homeless people that the money and all the amenities that come with Prop C will actually come through. If it was done by a politician, we would just be a number like the Dhalia list. This is real. I hope that one day we can actually have a wall-breaking like the Berlin wall kind of thing with “housies” and the homeless so that they’re not looking down on people who are homeless, but uplifting us.
CHERYL SHANKS Organizer, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation
I worked on the Prop C campaign because I was formerly homeless and I know that until people have shelter, which is an essential need, they cannot attend to mind body or spirit because living on the streets is a devastation to the whole physical being it’s inhumane. You know people like to say they want to be there they want to use drugs, but there is no resources, so the first step to coming back from the devastation of homelessness is to have a place to live. And then everything else will fall into place.
I come from a middle class background so on a personal level I went through the devastation of addiction and homelessness. I was one of the few people who got lucky enough to be pulled up through the cracks and I believe I’m on a mission from God to give back and that’s why as a person from a “middle class good neighborhood” fell through the cracks so I would learn the first hand experience of being able to give back and that's why I work so hard because everyone has a place to live, and to be happy, and to eat and enjoy life. It’s personal for me. I wish people could personalize this in such a way that touches their hearts.
Prop C is important to me because everyone has a right to a home.
MEGHAN “ROADKILL” JOHNSON Peer Organizer, Our City Our Home Coalition | Shelter Client Advocate, Eviction Defense Collaborative
I only worked on the Prop C campaign briefly but when I was doing it I liked the idea of having equal opportunities for people who are impoverished so I thought it was a great way to fill the gap since there's no housing. It’s pretty much why I started.
Prop C would increase family subsidies and I was unhoused at the time and hearing about an opportunity for people to get well needed subsidies I just wanted to jump up on the opportunity to help myself and other homeless folk like me.
Prop C is important to because it’s definitely it’s the Coalition's baby. They’ve been intensively growing Prop C over the years and it was a pipe dream of theirs but for us to actually get it on the ballot was huge it showed me the Coalition’s leadership and now the COH is so well known throughout the nation it’s not an organization that will easily be forgotten
Prop C is definitely different because it was brought on by the advocates in the community. Started by the radicals in the Coalition but on top of that it was just a general public thing and at the Coalition we are always providing opportunities for homeless people to refine their dignity and voices and strengths and so with Prop C we had a lot of turnout of people who had homelessness under their belt but it provided them an opportunity that allowed folks to go out there and essentially amend the wrongs that have been happening to them for thirty for forty years. Definitely an opportunity to reclaim something that’s seen as a human right. It’s [housing] not a privilege.
We’re at a pinnacle point I would say in history where we have you know the means to end so many people's suffering but were extending it just by you know allowing these Propositions that are not passed. I truly believe Prop C would end this crisis.
JACQUELYNN GBOGBOADE Shelter Client Advocate, Eviction Defense Collaborative
I am a formerly homeless woman with children and I feel like it was important to get Prop C passed for all of my homeless neighbors because its important and nobody else thought of fucking helping us. When you come from the people, you’re for the people. I gathered signatures, did some phone banking, emceed at rallies and spoke to the media at press conferences and got news coverage. I always liked doing that- getting the message out to people- and we got so many people.
I had been homeless for 15 years I’ve only been housed for a year. I was in a rat-infested SRO with four people. Who knows- I could be homeless again.
Anybody who is a human being should be housed. Nobody should be left in the cold because they’re too poor to afford a place. At the end of the day everyone should be housed, you have people on the streets for 30 years so it’s left up to tiny organizations like the Coalition to fight for it to do it. Some city person doesn’t understand what it is to be sitting in the rain in the cold can't get in a shelter because they're all filled up. They don’t know that. Everyone deserves to have housing we’re human we need to be inside housing.
JAZMIN FRIAS Peer Researcher, Our City Our Home Coalition | PODER
My life would change drastically under Prop C. It would give me and all of these families a great amount of peace to be able to have somewhere stable to go home to. Being able to cook a hot meal for your children whenever you want, being able to shower with warm water whenever you need it, to even turning on the heater when its cold or turn on the air when its hot. Being able to come home after an exhausting day from work to a peaceful home and being able to physically and mentealy relax. Not having to worry about if the police is going to remove you at three in the morning with all the children because we are parked on the side of the street. It is a beautiful thought of your child having their own room, their own bed and their own space to play and be a child whenever they want and not have your baby on a set schedule because he does not have the liberty to play with his toys when he wants. This funding will give us peace of mind because as a parent you will feel at ease and the children will grow up in a healthy environment. Our children will grow up with less traumas because parents will not be as absent and they will not be overworked to keep a stable home that leads for more family time and more happy memories. Sometimes we think family trips are a luxury but I believe they are a foundational development for a child because these will be moments and memories they will hold forever. The happier a child is the healthier the child is, when a parent is always absent sometimes children start to grow hate or hold grudges toward parents because they were always left with a babysitter or maybe suffer a traumatic experience with another adult and blame the mother because she was gone at work. As a single mother, we sometimes have to rely on babysitters and you never know what can happen to your child while you are at work, and it's not that we like to leave our children we do not have an option because we have to maintain our homes.
I do not want to be another statistic as a single mother that never finished school and never went farther. I want to continue to go to college and finish my career but it is difficult when I have to provide for a small child. I have to work up to two jobs to barely make it while still not be able to afford such high rent. As much as I would love to only work one job and have time for school and my son it is incredibly impossible here in this city. There is not enough resources for us. If the system just touched their hearts for one minute and took a chance on us to give us that support and time to see that we are all battling something in our lives and some of us have a harder situation than most. I have been in a situation where a position was given to another person because of white privilege. I believe that our system stereotypes the Latinas community because of the color of our skin and because of our Hispanic roots. We have to work twice as hard and have multiple incomes to barely make it and we still are looked down on when we reach out for help from the government. For example, society and our current president has made it seem like we are terrible for applying for Food Stamps or Cash Aid if we need the actual help. If I am paying thousands of dollars in rent with a minimum wage job and only one parents income there is no way that I can afford food, formula for my son, diapers and wipes, clothes and shoes or any other basic needs him and I both need to survive. There is so much stigma and discrimination against my community and limited opportunities. It is very expensive to live in San Francisco and all every other nearby city.
Since I have been here I have seen many family shelters and the way these families live there is upsetting. Children are sleeping on two-inch plastic mattresses on the floor that look very dirty and who knows if they are clean. It is not an adequate place to raise a child. Let alone a child that is attending school, they are not feeding them breakfast and still send to school on an empty stomach. Also the system does not take into consideration that in this generation bullying is crucial. If our kids are wearing the same clothes or might smell different because they don't have access to showers it can cause them to be bullied by other students. Bullying can cause tremendous mental issues for a child's development and even lead to suicide. It is very hard for me to believe that San Francisco does not have the money to give people affordable housing or resources when millions or maybe even thousands of people pay seven dollars to cross the gate a day or parking being at twenty three dollars for half a day. That's just two examples, I refuse to believe that San Francisco does not have the funding I believe that they want to hold back the funding because of stereotypes to our communities. The belief that every homeless person is lazy and is a drug addict and this is not true.
L’OREALE “TREASURE” EARLE Peer Researcher, Our City Our Home Coalition | Transgender, Gender nonconfroming and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP)
For me, just because I'm fortunate now, doesn’t mean I won’t become homeless. For my community [Black Transwomen] specifically, it would still be a lending hand if something was to go wrong. For my friends because of my participation in the project, I know what is needed and is necessary. Prop C is a safe haven for those who are in insecure circumstances. My community (Black Transgender in SF) specifically needs an opportunity to sustain our lives, I believe Prop C has the availability to sustain lives that otherwise are in uncertain, unstable, scary circumstances. My community is a place run by us specifically for us. And prop c is a way to ensure our needs were heard and considered.
Prop C is one of the first initiatives that I have heard about that was asking to hear about the needs of my community. The needs and the wants of my community were heard. I have not heard of a campaign in my lifetime that was saying, what does this community, this underserved population want and need? I have yet to hear of anyone else ask my community what is necessary for sustaining our lives? What progressive ideas are needed to sustain our lives?
My experience of being a Peer Researcher tells me that there is a population that is unserved. There is a population that has been relegated to substandard living conditions. There are individuals who have to live in dire circumstances, who don’t have a place to go. There are a whole lot of individuals that do not have a specific place that is built for them. For example, there was Jazzie’s place, it was transformational but the mission of the place has been watered down and the target audience it was meant to serve has been left out of its current place. Well Jazzie’s was for Black trans folks and now it’s for anyone- the mission has broadened so there is no specific space for transgender women. There is no specific space. There’s men's shelters, womens’, youth, and trans can go to these places, but now there’s no specific place for trans folk, who were promised a place specifically for them.
What I understand is that Prop C is making SF a unique place it takes care of it’s people and is making sure the developers are taking the constituents in mind. We’re talking to the rich people who are taking over the land and the difference is that Prop C is making everyone responsible for each other. Prop C is so rich and striking, that the rich are suing the government over it. I don’t think other campaigns have this much war cause you’re asking people to be charitable with economic incentives. Some places only dedicate a few units for BMR out of a building. We need to create a space to help them build themselves and not be reliant on a BMR.
It’s all about money. SF is ever changing there’s people from all over the world and they’re entitled. That’s what this lawsuit is about. No one is saying don’t build here, but we’re saying you have to chip in- some of your money that's rewarding and profiting you to give to some people who don’t have. You have a responsibility to look out for those less fortunate.