What do you believe to be the appropriate role of local government in approaching homelessness?
San Francisco must commit the resources to provide adequate services to the homeless men and women living in San Francisco. We need assistance programs that provide for the needs of our homeless citizens. We need safe shelters, feeding programs, health and mental health services in place to provide for this vulnerable population. If we say we provide care than we have to be committed to making sure that as a city we are providing care.
How would you handle San Francisco’s affordable housing shortage?
I understand firsthand how important the shortage of affordable housing is – as a renter of over 30 years in District 9 – I have been forced to move when the home I was living in was sold. I know how hard it is to find an affordable apartment to rent let alone try and buy an affordable home or condominium in District 9. I believe we need to address what has happened in District 9 with the influx of “work-live” spaces which are exempt from many residential regulations including the affordable housing requirements. We need to close the gaps in the planning process that allow developers to circumvent the affordable housing requirements. I am a supporter of Proposition B, however I am very concerned about using set asides in the budgeting process.
What is your opinion of Care Not Cash?
The voters passed Care Not Cash and it is my personal belief that by cutting welfare payments from $359 to $59 a month it has not resulted in a substantial reduction in the homeless population in the City. I know that the CAAP caseload had decreased but I think that just means we are no longer interacting with our homeless population through the County Adult Assistance Programs. I do not believe that in January 2007 there were only 300 homeless individuals in San Francisco as was reflected by the CAAP caseload. If it is called Care Not Cash then we must provide the Care component. I support the “Real Housing, Real Care” amendment which mandates certain levels of housing and services.