What do you believe to be the appropriate role of local government in approaching homelessness?
Homelessness is a perennial problem that generations of San Francisco elected leaders have been unable to solve. In part, the root causes of homelessness – mental illness, drug and alcohol addictions, lack of affordable housing, lack of jobs, etc. – are complex and require multi-faceted, sustained public policy responses. Local government cannot solve the problem on its own, but it must play a critical and leading role in funding and delivering these sustained public policy responses.
As supervisor, what, if anything, would you attempt to do to address homelessness in San Francisco?
From my perspective, we need to continue to prioritize funding social services for the homeless, and integrate law enforcement functions in the context of these social service programs to make sure that homeless people are guided to receive the social services that they need. We need to support an integrated network of neighborhood homeless providers who can provide a more cost-effective and humane way of connecting homeless individuals and families to the programs that meet their needs.
How would you handle San Francisco’s affordable housing shortage?
While District 3 has some of the most amazing housing in the world, many of our residents live within a few paychecks of being priced out of their housing, and some of our residents live in significantly substandard or overcrowded housing.
As former Chair of the Board of Directors of the largest affordable housing organization in District 3 (Chinatown Community Development Center), I have a direct understanding of how we may be able to create sufficient affordable housing opportunities in San Francisco for low income, working and middle class individuals and families.
As a tenant during my 12 years in District 3, and as someone who has represented and advocated for tenants facing evictions, including one of District 3’s largest Ellis Act evictions, I am committed to ensuring tenants’ rights, protecting rent control, and carefully managing annual rent increases, and am honored to be the only District 3 candidate endorsed by the San Francisco Tenants Union and the Community Tenants Association, District 3’s largest tenants organization.
I am committed to preserving the current affordable housing stock and expanding our affordable housing. To do that, we need to ensure adequate funding, and thus support the proposed November ballot initiative for an affordable housing set-aside. As Supervisor, I would work to ensure that we leverage maximum federal and state housing dollars and private tax credits to build affordable housing.
I will explore prioritizing in the planning process private developers who develop affordable housing levels that exceed current inclusionary housing requirements, or who provide other substantial community benefits. I support stronger requirements for onsite inclusionary housing to maintain the economic diversity of our neighborhoods.
Within District 3 and throughout San Francisco, we need to renovate public housing that has deteriorated and is coming close to being unlivable. As Supervisor, I would work to renovate existing public housing to ensure that it is safe, clean and provides access to services by residents. A renovation strategy is more cost-effective and environmentally sound than building new housing, especially in a district with little vacant land for new development.
What is your opinion of Care Not Cash?
While I had a number of concerns about Care Not Cash when it was first proposed, the program has made some real progress; that being said, as is evident to any observer of our streets, our city has a long way to go to fully addressing homelessness.