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May 13,  2003


Coalition on Homelessness Calls for Closer Scrutiny of Proposition N

San Francisco 5/12/03. Proposition N was overturned in the California Superior Court last week by Judge Ronald E. Quidachay, who determined that the initiative should never have been put on the local ballot because state law requires changes in county cash assistance programs must be decided by the county Board of Supervisors.

According to Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness, "Determining the economic rights of a discriminated minority by popular vote is always dangerous. This election process was manipulated and voters were misled through the proponent's shameless spending. State law ensures that complex issues relating to public assistance are decided by elected officials, who have access to comprehensive information - not just expensive commercials."

The Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco, is now calling on City Attorney Dennis Hererra not to appeal Judge Quidachay's decision, but instead permit our Board of Supervisors to do its job.

Research by the Coalition on Homelessness shows the current implementation plans for Prop N from the Dept. of Human Services and the Mayor's Office, which are slated to go into effect 7/1/03, will create serious displacement of non-welfare recipients from our already overburdened shelter system. Homeless seniors, disabled people, and immigrants will be displaced from emergency shelters to make room for County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP) recipients, which is precisely what the so-called "Care Not Cash" campaign promised would NOT happen.

The Coalition on Homelessness is also requesting that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors create a Select Committee on Proposition N.

"We'd like to see that any proposed homeless reforms be heard in the appropriate forum," said Paul Boden, COH-SF executive director. "It's our sincere hope to ensure any changes in San Francisco's homeless policies will be humane as well as effective, and crafted with input from all stakeholders, especially homeless people and frontline staff in homeless service agencies."

coh@sf-homeless-coalition.org; www.sf-homeless-coalition.org