Proposition N, financed by big business and brought forth by media darling Supervisor Newsom, would cut cash assistance to the poorest San Franciscans by 83%.
The powerful and elite are hinging the next Mayoral election on the backs of homeless people, hoping if they win, they can ride the hate wagon right into office. In the mean time they have put out more erroneous information, twisted facts, and outright lies then we have ever seen. These are meant to fool well intentioned voters into thinking that Prop N will actually help homeless people. Here are some of the highlights:
- “Proposition N will guarantee services”
There is nothing in this initiative that guarantees services. It simply cuts poor people’s income for services they are now getting for free. The money they expect to save and then may or may not use for services is actually based on the assumption poor folks will flee San Francisco. If poor folks stick around, the City would only be able to save money on the 40% of shelter residents staying at a shelter at any one time that have CAAP as their income source. The savings would do nothing for Jane Homeless today. The money could be used to expand services down the line, but we are talking years from now and the initiative doesn’t even require the city to spend it on housing and treatment. They establish a baseline — so in other words, wait for next year, then with a little money, maybe they start developing a program, that takes a year or so, it serves a few people etc. Meanwhile, potentially 2,700 people are screwed. If they save any money at all, they will only be able to house a fraction of the number of the homeless people they stole the money away from. For every person that has $300 taken from them, the city currently spends another $300 on top of that for their master lease program. Meanwhile, 3/4 of recipients right now are finding housing on their own and surviving on $395 a month.
If these people really wanted some housing for poor people, they would not take money from poor people to pay for it. That is ridiculous logic. Newsom should be asking his rich buddies to develop housing, not pay for a campaign to make poor people more poor.
- “Services not cash — because we care.” (Golden Gate Restaurant Association)
If proponents cared, they would be spending all the money they are raising on housing directly — not billboards and commercials meant to mislead voters. You cannot help the poor by taxing the poor. Those who can afford it should be funding services for poor people — not running campaigns to slash welfare benefits.
- Surrounding Counties have already instituted this program and have been successful. (Channel 5, Bay , Gavin Newsom)
Simply not true — each of these counties have seen an increase in the number of homeless people (source: SF Legislative Analyst): Alameda: Alameda has a small voucher program of 115 people with a capacity of 150. Prop N is a program for 2,700 and growing.
San Mateo: San Mateo County has a very costly voucher system for people who are housed. We don’t have the current numbers, but when they started, they spent about $.50 for every $1 they gave out — OUCH. (Hunger and Homeless Action Coalition Coalition, 1994) Very big difference in San Mateo — homeless people get to save the money deducted from their checks to use for move-in costs. San Jose: Offers full grants
- Other major cities, such as Seattle, Chicago, and New York have instituted similar programs and have seen huge success.
Simply not true — these cites have nothing like what is being proposed, and have seen huge increases in homelessness. All these counties implemented changes to save money — not save lives.
Chicago: Chicago, which eliminated their General Assistance payments in 1992, is presently seeing more then 166,000 people becoming homeless in the course of the year. Seattle: Seattle gives the full grant to homeless people so they can save up for housing. They deduct the housing portion of the grant from those who are in housing but do not pay rent. New York: New York, New York — What a sad state of affairs! 20,000 shelter beds and growing.
Kids committing suicide rather then face NY’s central intake system. The state legislature originally proposed a voucher style program like Prop N. It was never implemented. Homeless people get $137 per month, then $215 in cash for housing.
- As a result of cash grants, there are over 100 fatal overdoses every year on San Francisco’s streets. (Care Not Cash website)
We have not done a homeless death study since 1999. There is no evidence in San Francisco that homeless deaths are tied to receipt of cash assistance. There was no correlation in any of the years between the time of death and receipt of cash assistance – deaths occurred throughout the year. A study being printed in the American Journal of Public Health of overdoses in San Francisco found no correlation between overdoses and receipt of cash assistance.
- Chicago only had one homeless death, and the city officials were in an uproar. (Richmond Democratic Club, April 23, 2002)
Chicago just did their first pilot study, run by their Medical Examiner. As reported in the Chicago Tribune, during just a five month period, there was at least 56 deaths among homeless people. This number only includes those who died on the streets, not those who made it to the hospital first.
- Prop N does not take money away from the homeless, it just changes the way it is spent. (Chronicle op-ed by Gavin Newsom 7/15/02)
Prop N does take money away from the individual homeless person, and that same person will not see any direct benefit from the removal of that cash. Welfare recipients do work for their money, unless they are disabled or in a job training. They would still have to work but only get paid 17% of minimum wage
- Prop N will help address the homeless crisis (CNC website)
Actually, Prop N will increase homelessness. Homeless people will lose the flexibility to pay for housing if some cheap housing becomes available. They will no longer have the funds to pay for it — you have to have a receipt before you get the money. They will instead have to wait for the “voucher” housing to come available from Human Services. Department of Human Services will have to contract with a specific building to accept the vouchers.
Individuals in “casual” housing arrangements will no longer be able to pay for it. If they do not have a receipt, they will lose their assistance. This will hit poor communities very hard, where doubling and tripling up is a fact of life, and many families are fearful of being evicted if the landlord finds they have extra people living there.
Many hotel operators refuse to provide receipts, individuals living in those places will become homeless.
- Impartial experts such as the Director of the Department of Human Services, and The Director of the Department of Public Health support this initiative.
These are not, under any stretch, impartial supporters. They are appointed to their positions by the Mayor, and the Mayor is in full support of this initiative. If they want to keep their jobs, they support whatever the Mayor tells them to support. They are also breaking the law by using their position to support the inititative.
- All Homeless People are addicts.
Newsom is too slick to come out and say it. But that’s really what he is implying, isn’t he? The people “come from out of town,” the constant references to homeless deaths and overdoses. There is no data on how many people affected by this initiative are suffering from addictive disorders. The initiative assumes no one who is homeless can manage their money, and that they are all addicts. Dr. Stewart, the one doctor he has found to suppport him who is not get paid to do so, is a substance abuse treatment provider. Obviously, all his clients are addicted — but the rest of Haight Ashbury Free Clinic does not even support his position.
- This will go beyond fractious politics and finally address the issue of homelessness from sound public policy. (Newsom letter on website)
This is fractious politics! The City has a homeless plan that was developed by over 225 community members. Prop N is directly contrary to the City homelessness plan entitled “Continuum of Care” that was developed with buy-in from service providers, homeless people, and concerned community members. This initiative creates the kind of divisiveness that does nothing but prevent genuine efforts to solve homelessness from being implemented.
- This will increase funding for substance abuse and mental health treatment and free up funds we can use for real health care.
This will not create funds directly, not does it guarantee those funds will be spent to solve homelessness.
- The New England Journal of Medicine has found that cash-only systems cost lives. </em
(CNC door hanger) After a phone call to the NEJM, we discovered that they had made no such claim and that Newsom has been using the Journal’s trademark logo without their authorization — which, of course, is illegal.
At this writing a “cease and desist” letter from NEJM is on its way to Newsom’s campaign — and all of Gavin’s illegal door hangers will have to be destroyed.