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Mayor’s Budget Devastating for Homeless People

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The Mayor’s budget criminalizes poor people, cuts vital services, and eliminates resources for affordable housing!

The Mayor’s 2007/2008 budget could be devastating for homeless people and programs in San Francisco. Many homeless services were gutted through a 4% cut to Health Department Budget, and many of those items specifically hurt people. In addition, the budget failed to address critical homeless needs that have been brought to the Mayor’s attention, including housing for homeless families and emergency services for homeless people. Here are some of the highlights:

Closure of Buster’s Place

The budget cuts $1,08756 to close the only 24-hour drop-in center available to homeless people in San Francisco. This closure will mean no safe place to go in emergencies during the night, no late night access to shelter beds, even as beds sit empty, no respite from bad weather or police harassment. It will be a major loss of access to basic amenities such as showers, and bathrooms. It will also mean no central place for people discharged from institutions. This impacts about 110 homeless people a day.

Loss of access to substance abuse treatment and harm reduction services

The budget cuts $1.3 million from substance abuse treatment, including 150 treatment slots (60 residential treatment beds and 80 outpatient treatment slots). This represents a 15% loss of capacity in this system. In addition, many important harm reduction programs homeless people benefit from are lost including $75,000 from Positive Resource Center serving 110 clients, Quan Yin Healing Arts Center serving 260 clients, $200,00 from Women’s Community Clinic serving 2,004 clients, Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project serving 550 clients, Stimulant Treatment Outpatient Program serving 60 clients annually.

SRO Collaborative

Families with minor children living in SRO Hotels are considered homeless in San Francisco. The Mayor’s Budget includes a 25% cut to families living in Single Room Occupancy Hotels. This will dramatically reduce peer-based services to the 527 families residing in SRO hotels in San Francisco. In addition, SRO Families United is in need of an additional $100,000 in funding from the Department of Public Health to make up for budget cuts from the Human Service Agency.

Caduceus Outreach Services

Federal and private budget cuts will lead to the closure of Caduceus Outreach Services, which provides psychiatric care, criminal justice, benefits and healthcare advocacy, and wrap-around services for homeless people. This critical program is set to close it’s doors, unless the City funds it.

Operating Subsidy for Homeless Families

Homeless families are severely neglected by the Mayor’s budget. Whiles there are over 2,000 homeless families in San Francisco, there is nothing in the budget to address this crisis. $5,000,000 is needed in operating subsidies to ensure the poorest families can move into City- and Redevelopment-funded affordable housing units going on-line next year.

St. Boniface Shelter

St. Boniface shelter was funded last year by the Board of Supervisors. While the Mayor’s Administration is mandating that they open 24 hours, it is not providing additional funding to do so. This will mean the shelter would have to hire people at below minimum living wage ordinance to meet its contractual obligations. The Board must fund an additional $356,000.

State of SF Homeless Shelters

The Coalition on Homelessness and the Shelter Monitoring Committee have uncovered the dire need for a minimum standard of care in the shelter system. Additional funding is needed to ensure homeless shelter residents have access to toilet paper inside stalls, soap dispensers to wash their hands and other basic amenities.

Cannibalizes Homeless Services to Waste Funds on New Court

The budget calls for $700,000 to fund a new poverty court in the Tenderloin that would further criminalize poor people for being homeless and force them to clean the streets for committing the crime of sleeping in public.

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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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