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LGBTQ Connect

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In San Francisco, housing is the #1 unmet need of the HIV population, and the LGBT community is nearly two and a half times as likely to be homeless as the general population. The National AIDS Strategy has identified housing for people with HIV as a national priority, and, according to HUD, San Francisco ranks last in the nation in meeting the housing needs of people with HIV/AIDS.

  • According to the 2013 San Francisco Biennial Homeless Point In Time Count and Survey, which collected data on sexual orientation for the first time, nearly one-third (29%) of the San Francisco’s homeless identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
  • In July 2013, a report issued by the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force formed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Addressing The Needs of LGBT Older Adults in San Francisco, found that 40% of LGBT older adults were living in poverty, compared to 30% of the general population, that 24% needed housing assistance, and two-thirds (66%) are concerned they will not be able to remain in their homes, yet 42% of housing assistance service users feel unsafe obtaining assistance as an LGBT person.
  • The LGBT Aging Policy Task Force and the federally mandated Ryan White CARE Council have both identified an emerging crisis need for rental subsidies to keep disabled seniors in their homes when their employer-sponsored long-term disability policies expire as they reach retirement age.
  • The HUD-mandated Analysis of Impediments to Access to Fair Housing identified a need for increased access to rental assistance to remove barriers to fair housing for senior and disabled individuals.

This data supports a needs-based increased investment in culturally competent homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing services targeting the LGBT community, today.


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SFPD FACING PEOPLE IN CRISIS: No Guns, No Tasers! – Talk ’em down

by Carol Harvey

On Aug. 1, 2012, following the police shooting of a mentally ill man, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, like chiefs before him, attempted for the fourth time in a decade – without public notice – to revive the taser debate.

People in crisis appear to have become the rationale for equipping police officers with so-called “non-lethal” tasers in addition to lethal weapons – guns. Chief Suhr’s argument? To stop police firearm murders, we will use “less-lethal” tasers. His rationale seems based on a law enforcement myth: Guns kill! Tasers save lives!

A Police Commission majority led by Angela Chan, citing the unfulfilled stipulations of a resurrected Feb. 23, 2011, resolution, tabled the taser proposal until the requirements are met.

Are tasers truly ‘less lethal’? Continue reading


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SFPD FACING PEOPLE IN CRISIS: No Guns, No Tasers! – Talk ’em down

by Carol Harvey

On Aug. 1, 2012, following the police shooting of a mentally ill man, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, like chiefs before him, attempted for the fourth time in a decade – without public notice – to revive the taser debate.

People in crisis appear to have become the rationale for equipping police officers with so-called “non-lethal” tasers in addition to lethal weapons – guns. Chief Suhr’s argument? To stop police firearm murders, we will use “less-lethal” tasers. His rationale seems based on a law enforcement myth: Guns kill! Tasers save lives!

A Police Commission majority led by Angela Chan, citing the unfulfilled stipulations of a resurrected Feb. 23, 2011, resolution, tabled the taser proposal until the requirements are met.

Are tasers truly ‘less lethal’? Continue reading


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Study Shows High Death Disparity Among Homeless

By Healthy Living News


A new study shows that homeless individuals, especially those suffering from mental illness or substance abuse, have a death rate significantly higher and a life expectancy that is significantly shorter than those with homes. The study, recently published in the journal The Lancet, collected data on people in homeless shelters using Denmark’s nationwide homeless registry. The data consisted of 32,711 homeless people, aged 16 years and up, who where homeless between 1999 and 2009.


To determine the rate of death and life expectancy, researchers separated the homeless registry data into several groups. These included those with psychiatric disorders, those with a history of substance abuse, those with a dual diagnosis of both, and those who had no such diagnosis.

Researchers then compared their rate of death, or mortality, to that of the general population. They discovered that for those homeless, the rate of death was 6.7 times higher for women and 5.6 times higher for men. The group with substance abuse disorders had the highest mortality of any of the homeless groups, followed by those with a dual diagnosis. Information on the causes of death, when available, showed that suicide and violence accounted for more than a quarter of them.


”There was a larger disparity in life expectancy between the homeless shelter population and the general population than previous studies have found,” said study author, Dr. Sandra Nielsen.



The study also revealed that homelessness can cut short lives for those who are still young. For those homeless, age 15-24 years, their estimated life expectancy was, respectively, 21 and 17 years lower than men and women in the general population.



Regardless of age, however, Dr. Nielsen said that the death disparity confirms that homeless people living in shelters constitute a high-risk, marginalized population whose physical and mental health needs require more attention.



In an accompanying commentary in The Lancet, Professor John Geddes and Dr. Seena Fazel of Oxford University wrote that more work needs to be done to end death disparities among the homeless. That includes improved integrated psychiatric and substance abuse treatment to better address the problem.

Another concern regarding the study was its country of origin. Denmark provides free health care and a substantial social-service and housing support infrastructure. These should be helping alleviate death disparities among the homeless.



The Lancet commentary also pointed out potential cross-border differences in data. 
”International comparison of studies of homelessness,” it noted…”is made harder by the different social and housing systems between developing and more developed countries, and between small well-organized and highly socially integrated Nordic countries and larger more heterogeneous countries such as the USA.”



The commentary added that the situation is likely to be worse in countries with less well-organized welfare systems.



And fixing the death disparity problem for the homeless is now even a more daunting challenge. The crash in housing markets and the recent recession has increased homelessness in the U.S. and Europe, all while social services are being cut due to severe government financial restrictions.


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Governor Brown’s Budget Cuts: Women’s Lives on the Chopping Block, What's wrong with the cuts and how to not make them

Governor Brown’s Budget Cuts: Women’s Lives on the Chopping Block
Sisters United Front for Survival

Citing California’s $26 billion shortfall, the state legislature on March 15 approved $9 billion in cuts to an already-frayed safety net. Hardest hit in the flood of reductions are women. Lawmakers justified their actions as painful but necessary. But, the truth is that in this economic crisis, as always, the state is supporting greed over need, sacrificing the most vulnerable while protecting massive business sub-sidies. It’s time to change priorities!

  • Balancing the budget on the backs of women and the disadvantaged

Most severely impacted is Cal-WORKs, which provides cash assis-tance and job training to the poor, most of whom are single mothers. Over 1,000 families in San Francisco would lose assistance in San Francisco and grants would be reduced by almost $100 a month. The loss of other services adds to the misery of women and the indigent. Hacked are medical programs, in-home care, mental health, early childhood and developmentally disabled services.
The state is also slashing the budgets of community colleges and the California State University system which serve workingclass students, a majority of whom are women. And, a campaign to vilify public workers and their hard-earned pensions threatens the well-being of those lucky enough to have jobs.

  • Switch the priorities: Tax the Rich and Corporations!

Welfare moms have long been a Republican target as a symbol of “Big Government.” But the hack-and-slash mayhem emanating from Sacramento now is Democrat-led. With the June special election eliminated, the Governor will be looking for ways to address the remaining deficit. More budget cuts are likely, possibly totaling as much as $12.5 billion. Once again, workers and the poor will pay and pay and pay. All this because neither party will call for big business to pay its fair share!
The deficit exists in large measure because corporations and banks are paying less and less into the system. Wealth is being transferred from the working class to the richest few.

  • It’s time to reverse the flow!
  • Enact an oil severance tax California, where Chevron is headquartered, is the only state in the entire world that doesn’t tax extraction (a 9.9% tax = $1.2 bil./yr.)
  • Close corporate tax loopholes ($3-5 bil./yr.)
  • Eliminate war expenditures (CA share = $14.5 bil./yr.). U.S. Out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya!
  • Reduce prison spending Release all women incarcerated for defending themselves and their children from their abusers; cancel the Three Strikes law.
  • Stop privatization and contracting out; use union labor ($34 bil./yr.)
  • Reinstate the top income tax bracket to 11% ($4 bil./yr.)

We demand the State restore social services regardless of immigration status; expand CalWORKs, provide childcare & job training!

Issued by: Sisters United Front for Survival (A project of Radical Women) 415-864-1278, baradicalwomen@earthlink.net, http://www.radicalwomen.org


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Governor Brown’s Budget Cuts: Women’s Lives on the Chopping Block, What’s wrong with the cuts and how to not make them

Governor Brown’s Budget Cuts: Women’s Lives on the Chopping Block
Sisters United Front for Survival

Citing California’s $26 billion shortfall, the state legislature on March 15 approved $9 billion in cuts to an already-frayed safety net. Hardest hit in the flood of reductions are women. Lawmakers justified their actions as painful but necessary. But, the truth is that in this economic crisis, as always, the state is supporting greed over need, sacrificing the most vulnerable while protecting massive business sub-sidies. It’s time to change priorities!

  • Balancing the budget on the backs of women and the disadvantaged

Most severely impacted is Cal-WORKs, which provides cash assis-tance and job training to the poor, most of whom are single mothers. Over 1,000 families in San Francisco would lose assistance in San Francisco and grants would be reduced by almost $100 a month. The loss of other services adds to the misery of women and the indigent. Hacked are medical programs, in-home care, mental health, early childhood and developmentally disabled services.
The state is also slashing the budgets of community colleges and the California State University system which serve workingclass students, a majority of whom are women. And, a campaign to vilify public workers and their hard-earned pensions threatens the well-being of those lucky enough to have jobs.

  • Switch the priorities: Tax the Rich and Corporations!

Welfare moms have long been a Republican target as a symbol of “Big Government.” But the hack-and-slash mayhem emanating from Sacramento now is Democrat-led. With the June special election eliminated, the Governor will be looking for ways to address the remaining deficit. More budget cuts are likely, possibly totaling as much as $12.5 billion. Once again, workers and the poor will pay and pay and pay. All this because neither party will call for big business to pay its fair share!
The deficit exists in large measure because corporations and banks are paying less and less into the system. Wealth is being transferred from the working class to the richest few.

  • It’s time to reverse the flow!
  • Enact an oil severance tax California, where Chevron is headquartered, is the only state in the entire world that doesn’t tax extraction (a 9.9% tax = $1.2 bil./yr.)
  • Close corporate tax loopholes ($3-5 bil./yr.)
  • Eliminate war expenditures (CA share = $14.5 bil./yr.). U.S. Out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya!
  • Reduce prison spending Release all women incarcerated for defending themselves and their children from their abusers; cancel the Three Strikes law.
  • Stop privatization and contracting out; use union labor ($34 bil./yr.)
  • Reinstate the top income tax bracket to 11% ($4 bil./yr.)

We demand the State restore social services regardless of immigration status; expand CalWORKs, provide childcare & job training!

Issued by: Sisters United Front for Survival (A project of Radical Women) 415-864-1278, baradicalwomen@earthlink.net, http://www.radicalwomen.org


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A Message from the Chair of the Shelter Monitoring Committee

A Message from the Chair…
By L.J. Cirilo

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and personally invite my fellow d6 neighbors, anyone currently or formerly residing in a city funded shelter, all shelter service providers and stakeholders, along with any other concerned community members who may be interested in learning more about the conditions homeless people are facing in the current shelter system and the overall work of the Committee, to attend the next public meeting of the Shelter Monitoring Committee.

We will be discussing some very important topics such as the 2011-2012 Budget as it relates to homeless services, I will be presenting a draft budget letter for the full Committee’s approval, as well as the presentation of the Jan-Feb-March 2011 Quarterly Report. To find a full agenda for May’s meeting and more about the SMC please go to: http://www.sfgov3.org/index.aspx?page=2779

Mission Statement
The Shelter Monitoring Committee is an independent vehicle charged with documenting the conditions of shelters and resource centers to improve the health, safety, and treatment of residents, clients, staff, and the homeless community. The Committee’s mission is to undertake this work recognizing individual human rights and promoting a universal standard of care for shelters and resource centers in the City and County of San Francisco.