Coalition on Homelessness: Lies Behind Proposition N Exposed
Emergency Legislation Bans Kicking Out Seniors,
Disabled, and Working People from Shelters Under Prop N
San Francisco The San Francisco Board of Supervisors City
Services Committee held a hearing Thursday to consider legislation
entitled "Preservation of Emergency Nature of Shelter." The legislation
was passed on to the full board for approval without recommendation.
Supervisor Newsom indicated he would oppose this anti-displacement
The legislation would prohibit the city from discriminating against
homeless people based on income source. The Board chambers was packed with
supporters who fear that the most vulnerable homeless people will be
pushed out onto the streets to make room for welfare recipients under
Proposition N. This would force Department of Human Services to change its
implementation plan for Proposition N "care not cash," which includes
plans to prioritize welfare recipients. The DHS plan also mandated
extended stays in city shelters for welfare recipients and allows only
one-night stays for not-on-welfare recipients.
Displacement fears first surfaced when community members learned that
the Department of Human Services was planning on prioritizing shelter beds
for welfare recipients, offering welfare recipients 43-day stays, and
not-on-welfare recipients only one-night stays in city-funded
emergency-shelter beds. This proposal was brought forward as part of the
implementation plan for Proposition N, the hotly contested initiative that
would cut 85% of cash assistance to homeless single adults. Under
Proposition N, Human Services may cut welfare checks for housing, food,
and utilities available "in-kind" by the city.
There are between 8,640 and 12,000 homeless men, women, and children in
San Francisco, 3,000 of who are affected by Proposition N. At the same
time, 1,350 shelter beds for single adults exist in San Francisco.
Community members and homeless people are concerned that prioritizing CAAP
recipients will displace seniors, immigrants, people with disabilities,
working people, and people with no income from the shelter system.
According to Jason Negron-Gonzalez of People Organized to Win
Employment Rights, "The emergency shelter system should remain just that.
It should be preserved for those most in need of it - those that are
medically fragile, those who are disabled, those trying to maintain
employment. It should not be co-opted by single-minded bureaucrats who
wish only to reduce welfare grants, regardless of the consequences."
Proposition N was approved by voters last November in a deluge of
advertising and promises of care. Part of it was overturned in courts and
is now being considered by the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor
McGoldrick’s legislation will go to a vote at the full Board of
Supervisors on July 8, 2003.