Re-Fund the Community: San Francisco Budget Victories, 2020

An older woman stands with a face mask and a sign that reads "ring the bell to support funding for homeless families"

San Francisco, like many cities, is in a challenging place economically with over 200,000 workers on unemployment, a $1.5 billion deficit due to loss revenue, and exponentially higher needs for city services such as rental assistance, health care, child care and other city essential activities.    San Francisco has a very unique budget process, where the legislative branch receives the budget from the much more powerful executive branch and has the opportunity to cut things out of the Mayor’s budget in order to fund other things they deem as higher priorities. 

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Paying Too Much for Rent? #30RightNow!

Starting in August, all tenants in Direct Access to Housing (DAH) program will pay only 30% of their income towards rent. Previously, while most supportive housing units — and all units that have come online since 2016 — were at 30%, 678 tenants in the DAH program were paying literally half their income towards rent, a legacy of backwards and cruel policies from the City and County of San Francisco.

The funding that was released came from a $1 million allocation that came as a result of me hunger striking for rent relief in 2019,

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Homeless Tenderloin Residents May Face Massive Police Enforcement in Hastings Settlement

City May Abandon Housing for Thousands of Unhoused Residents While Removing Tents

San Francisco, CA — As thousands protest to end police violence during a pandemic, disproportionately black homeless residents may face massive police enforcement in a settlement reached between the City of San Francisco and UC Hastings College of Law. The settlement compels the City to “employ enforcement measures” for those who do not accept shelter placements or safe sleeping sites — yet provides less than 10% of homeless residents with such offers. 

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San Francisco Drags Feet Moving Tenderloin Residents into Shelter-in-Place Hotels

While the Tenderloin Plan began to be implemented on Thursday, only 16 people were moved into hotels, a mere 5% of the 300 person goal.

Friday, June 12th — Early Thursday morning, San Francisco’s Health Streets Operation Command (HSOC) arrived in the Tenderloin under the pretense of placing at least 300 of the Tenderloin’s unhoused residents into Shelter-in-Place Hotels. Clutching their lists of names, city workers scrambled down Turk street struggling to locate some of the people on their list that they would be moving into a nearby hotel,

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Life Under Quarantine: Unhoused, Sheltered in Place

Already normalized by COVID-19 “shelter in place” conditions that were prompted by the pandemic, housed and unhoused San Franciscans alike found themselves beset by a curfew that Mayor London Breed imposed on City residents for five nights from May 31 through June 4.

Through demonstrations and vocal outcry, community members rebuked the City’s response to nationwide protests against the killing of George Floyd and countless African Americans slain by police officers as part of the nation’s systemic and social racism.

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A Palace to Us: Unhoused 37MLK Residents Demand Hotel Rooms, Occupy Palms Motel in Oakland 

On Friday afternoon several dozen people gathered outside the unassuming Palms Motel in Oakland, CA with signs reading “Housing is a Human Right” and “Hotels Not Graves.” Inside, Stefani Echeverría-Fenn, an adjunct classics lecturer who herself was formerly homeless and has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years, has chained herself in the bathroom of a small room. She has been demanding that the City of Oakland offer hotel rooms where she has helped set up for her unhoused neighbors at the intentional encampment at 37th Street and Martin Luther King,

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Outreach diary — Fulton Mall Camp

Friday, May 8th

I went out to the encampment at what they call Fulton Mall today — the area on Fulton Street surrounded by the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Main Library and the Civic Center Plaza; As outreachers at the Coalition on Homelessness, we’ve been spending a lot of time there over the past week and a half. Today, things got lively! It has been extremely challenging getting straight answers, but I feel like we started getting some today.

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California’s largest shelter outbreak: A case of government malfeasance

Doctors, public health experts call for testing and housing all shelter residents in hotels 

Yesterday, California experienced its most widespread outbreak of COVID-19 in any homeless shelter to date where nearly half of 144 shelter residents tested positive. For some perspective, the outbreak in this single shelter of 70 shelter guests comprises 8.5% of all positive cases in San Francisco, which total 857 as of Saturday. 

When looking back on the lead-up to this catastrophe we see a series of policy missteps that got us here. 

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Mayor Breed Opts for Mass Indoor Camps

UPDATE: Our coverage of this outrageous plan prompted a shift for the city. Get the latest coverage HERE

A look inside the new Moscone Center congregate “Shelter”

While hundreds of advocates have been desperately contacting Mayor London Breed imploring her to place homeless people in hotel rooms and vacant units, it seems she has her own plan for addressing poverty during the pandemic: opening indoor camps to further concentrate vulnerable people.

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