We Kept Our Eyes Trained on Home

In 2018, the Coalition on Homelessness worked hard to craft and then pass Proposition C, “Our City Our Home,” to make significant systemic changes to address homelessness. The measure, which taxes the most profitable San Francisco corporations with annual incomes over $50 million an average of one-half percent, garners around $300 million for homelessness every year. At least half of the funding must go to housing, and at least a quarter must go to mental health and substance use treatment.

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Prop C funds San Francisco’s first Community-Led Sanctioned Encampment

In the midst of COVID-19, a community-led encampment in the Haight Ashbury offered an oasis for formerly homeless community members. Thanks to funding for emergency shelter made available by Proposition C, campers had a safe place to stay, daily meals and important services—and most importantly, a say in how the operation was run. 

When the pandemic struck in March 2020, Mayor London Breed issued a shelter-in-place order. But that order didn’t apply to those who had no shelter.

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They Have Millions, We Have What Is Right

I’ve been fighting an eviction since 2019. After living in my apartment for 20 years, always paying the rent on time, never bothering our landlords, they sold the building. Our rent-controlled unit paid off their mortgage (maybe several times over), and now in retirement they cashed in on San Francisco’s nouveau riche market.

The new buyer, of course, wants to kick us out. They are exploiting an Ellis Act loophole that allows for “owner-move-in” evictions—meaning that they can legally force us from our home as long as they or members of their family intend to live in it.

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Their Original Faces

I have not been homeless in almost a decade. 

But my homelessness was deeply influenced by the fact that my mother was homeless before me, for many years.

I loved her so much. When your own mother hits the streets, you learn something. When she was homeless, a part of me was homeless.

That is actually how the Buddha sees homelessness: If you suffer, I can embrace that. This is not an embrace as if it is a burden.

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Families Speak Out About Coordinated Entry

Since 2018, the City of San Francisco has been using a system called Coordinated Entry to distribute housing resources to homeless people. Coordinated Entry is mandated by the federal government, and requires the city to score homeless people with points, to identify which people are the most vulnerable. The people with the most vulnerabilities (for example disability, substance abuse, or mental illness), are the first ones prioritized to receive housing. The Coalition on Homelessness hosted a listening session in August with 35 families who were experiencing or had experienced homelessness to get feedback on how Coordinated Entry has been going for people.

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My Suffering Brother

I was homeless for 15 years, and most of that time was spent on the streets of Berkeley and Oakland. I spend time thinking about those days now. I think about those moments often. I ask myself, “What is the takeaway? What have I learned from those years sleeping behind bushes?”

I never took a vow of poverty. If I had been able to hold down a job and pay rent and function the way that one is expected to do,

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Looking Back In Anger At Homelessness

Originally published on thepaltrysum.com

In the middle of the storm it is hard to see the wood for the trees, the wind from the rain or the good from the bad. I lived in that storm for most of my adult life, and it is only in the last week that I have been inside looking out at the storm from a position of relative safety that I have been able to take stock.

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CART- A Compassionate Alternative Response to Homelessness

As the pandemic continues and the shelter-in-place (SIP) hotels made available to unhoused community members begin to shut down, the most marginalized are suddenly being forced back onto the streets. As this occurs, one can only imagine the influx of calls to 911 dispatchers requesting the presence of police for nonviolent unhoused folks. 

That is why it is so critical for San Francisco to implement the Compassionate Alternative Response Team, or CART,

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Coffee and Care for RV Dwellers at Stonestown

Due to the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and their homes, leading many families into unsheltered homelessness. Organizers with the Coalition on Homelessness (COH) have been reaching out to vehicularly housed folks who live on Winston Street and Lake Merced Boulevard next to San Francisco State University, aiming to provide support and permanent solutions to people living in RVs. Vehicularly housed residents told the COH that they face several daily challenges, including a lack of access to drinking water,

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Return to Sender: House the Bay Rallies Against UC Hastings Settlement

“Homes not barricades!! Homes not barricades!!”

These are the words chanted by protesters marching through the streets of the Tenderloin. Some were carrying police barricades, while others held signs that read ‘DEFUND SFPD,” “Rent is Theft” and “Black Homes Matter”. Others were equipped with medical supplies and sustenance, and in the back you could hear the Brass Liberation orchestra playing their instruments brightly to the beat of the chants.

Community organizations such as House the Bay,

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