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HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM THE DEPT. OF HUMAN SERVICES, p.s. – We’re Reducing Your Monthly Cash Welfare Benefit…

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After a fierce battle over mayoral candidate Gavin Newsom’s Prop N (AKA “Care Not Cash”) initiative on last year’s ballot, we lost to big lies and big money. We were only able to fight what was kicked to the Board of Supervisors by the lawsuit — the GA portion of CAAP. We had a huge victory in defeating Prop N at the Board and saving the GA portion.

We also passed an anti-displacement law to protect people who aren’t on CAAP from being kicked out of the shelters to make room for those who are. One of Newsom’s biggest lies was promising housing to people on CAAP, when Care Not Cash would actually give people beds in already-full shelters while making those people pay for utilities and food.

In the process of urging the Board to vote no on Prop N’s GA portion, Supervisor Chris Daly’s “Real Care, Real Housing” was born. This alternative version was exactly like Newsom’s except with the word “shelter” removed from its definition of housing. Daly’s legislation would still cut people’s GAchecks, but only if they are first provided housing — not a shelter bed. One of the problems with Daly’s legislation is the deduction of food and utilities from the GA checks of CAAP recipients who live in shelters. Newsom’s Prop N as it applies to PAES, CALM, and SSIP can NOT be stopped without going to the voters. There is also a separate lawsuit filed around PAES, SSIP, and CALM. People on CAAP who are currently in housing and can produce a rent receipt will NOT have their checks cut.

DHS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR PROP N AND REAL HOUSING REAL CARE (AKA PROP N LITE)

This information is based on a meeting on October 15, 2003 where DHS told service providers what their plan was. The Coalition on Homelessness and others involved in homelessness were not invited.

The City’s plan is to go into effect on December 15th, 2003 for all new intakes, and for all current cases in January and February.

  • People on PAES, SSIP, and CALM will have their checks cut (for food, utilities, and shelter), reducing their cash benefits to $62 per month when offered a shelter bed (if they take it or not). If there is no shelter available they will receive their full grant, but be reevaluated every month by their worker.
  • People could move to a lower grant amount on GA and would only have their check reduced if they are offered housing. If they’re in housing, monthly deductions for food ($41), housing ($198), and utilities ($109) leaves $62 in their pocket. Food is considered two meals a day. If you are offered shelter DHS can deduct for food and utilities.
  • If you were on GA, you could have your check reduced for utilities and food if you were offered shelter. In shelter they would deduct for food ($41) and utilities ($109). Leaving you with at the most $182 in your pocket. Again, food is figured at two meals daily.
  • For those CAAP recipients given a shelter bed there’s no time limit on that bed as long as they stay on CAAP and maintain their shelter bed. This set-aside of scarce shelter beds will result in displacement of people not on CAAP, in apparent violation of Supervisor Jake McGoldrick’s recent Anti-Displacement legislation.

KEEPING WHAT WE WON

We fought hard to prevent people living in shelters from being displaced due to the socalled Care Not Cash initiative.

The venerable Budget Analyst Harvey Rose even slammed DHS for providing phony information about the implementation plan for Prop N, and estimated that 610 homeless people would be displaced from the shelters. That’s one big reason why Supervisor McGoldrick introduced the Anti – Displacement legislation. But DHS is already violating the Anti-Displacement Legislation by setting aside, or, if you will, reserving beds in the shelters for people on CAAP.

This is creating the conditions to ensure the most frail and vulnerable homeless people in the city will end up on the streets — our elders, our disabled brothers and sisters, and immigrants and workers.

DHS is saying the focus of their program is getting people out of the shelters, but everyone knows this is their same old tired bullshit.

Poverty can’t be solved by taking money from poor people. We need real solutions to our problems like housing and jobs. We will continue to fight for justice and dignity in for poor and homeless people in San Francisco.

Please contact Paul or Allison at the Coalition on Homelessness for more information at (415) 346- 3740 or e-mail us at: sheltero u t r e a c h @ s f – h o m e l e s s – coalition.org.

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Author: Street Sheet Editor

The STREET SHEET is the oldest continuously published street news paper in the United States. Organizationally, it is the public education and outreach tool of the Coalition on Homelessness. Every month, the STREET SHEET reaches 32,000 readers through over 200 homeless or low-income vendors. Our vendors are charged nothing for the papers they receive, and keep all money they earn through STREET SHEET distribution.

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