Architecture for Humanity - SF
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Here are some reads and comments on SF Homlessness. I am reading some reports from the SF COH nd will report on those findings soon.

SF HOMELESS BUDGET 2005 - 2006 $136 million: 60% svcs & 40% housing

Daly bog.. Speak up for Good Homeless Policy

Daly blog... Progressives Should Re-Double Opposition to Care Not
Cash http://www.chrisdaly.org/site/bdsupvrs_page.asp?id=31665

Bush's Chronic Homeless Plan Imperils the Safety Net - Paul Boden Op
ed http://www.thestreetspirit.org/June%202005/chronic.htm

City Vision Radio Program: Homelessness in San Francisco: Is there a
solution? (2 parts, scroll down)

- Paul Boden and Rachel Brahinsky make a great point about Project Connect (http://projecthomelessconnect.org/) : first Daly claims the program was never outlined in the 10 year plan or Continuum of Care, but A Alioto claims it was unde another name. Rachel makes the case that it is all media stunt, time and place for Newsom to wash feet and get credit for bringing in new volunteers and provide
services. Boden says outright we don't need 2000 outreach volunteers in this small city for this task, their real energy would be better applied towards mobilizing against the federal cut backs and voicing or taking action there instead.

- Rachel claims it actually takes about 2 people's cuts in GA to use to afford housing 1 person, that since the funding was never there to really sustain CNC on its own, ultimately the poor are paying double the price for Newsom's selective success.

- people are waiting in shelters on CNC for 8 months, without any tracking system or feedback to let these people know where they are in line or what progress if any is being made.

- people on CNC can reserve space in shelters and not show up, making shelter space scarce, contested, and in the end go unused. this is creating a huge shelter management problem.

- people who are willing to sign up for CNC and go for housing through Newsom's outreach and project connect are getting a huge cut in line over others waiting for months via the normal channels. what message is the Mayor sending to the homeless community at large when he gives a set of new housing keys to someone he just approached on the streets and convinced to sign up for CNC? how is the system being fair at that point?

- major service money (McKinney -
http://www.chrisdaly.org/site/bdsupvrs_page.asp?id=31250) is being cut to focus on the visibly chronically homeless, that kind of lopsided hyper focus on one sector is causing a worse burden on the other sectors, and is easily argued by critics a program designed only to produce the most visible results possible, disregarding effects on other homeless and long term impact.

- CNC works with the larger federal cuts in city budgets and HUD monies, rather than helping to hold the feds accountable for these cuts. The problem can never be solved until fed money is engaging local municipalities to fight homelessness, otherwise it just becomes a divisive war of competing local programs, fighting for scraps with each new administration ... you coudl say CNC is working with what we've got and is crafty that way. But critics argue this new system in jsut moving deck chairs on the titanic.

- look at the short term and trying to fairly predict the long term causes of new homeless numbers as a result of CNC, families and seniors and children are fastest growing sector of homeless in our city, immigrants are also increasing at alarming rate (partly b/c of new border issues and Gov's stance), and new Iraq war veterans are seen as being the next immediate boom in our national homeless population. Report, City's Hidden Homeless

- how do we work towards creating a more integrated and comprehensive homeless policy with limited federal funds, and without eating ourselves up? The feds are well aware of the impacts on cities by cutting these funds, let's not let the conservative agenda at Washington pit the left coast alliance of liberals and
progressives against one another in these types of battles. The real focus should be a unified front of criticism at the State level too about holding the feds accountable.

- what if the city declared a state of emergency in terms of housing crisis, might that be a creative backdoor into going after some federal funding? probably not, but i think we need to be creative in battling the fed cutbacks, and demanding more.

http://www.sfbayview.com/042705/newbill042705.shtml New bill would kill Section 8 housing program

- how do we get the federal Dept of Labor, Social Security Admin, and HUD to engage more directly in local fights against homelessness? We have lost their commitment to fighting poverty & creating affordable housing. That is the core of our ability to effect the problem/solution? Is Newsom taking the right stand against these fed cut backs, or is his political knack only making it easier for him to work with them and in a sense let them off the hook?

- How to pursue "housing first" without sacrificing the services needed all around? It is a tricky housing and social problem, but neither side can claim credit for solving homelessness, nor pass the problem to the other sector. there has to be cooperation, and CNC has not really created that bridge with the strong progressive roots of homeless advocacy that was scene as a model for the nation 15 or 20 years ago.

- if taxpayers aren't willing to pay more taxes, or support a new bond, what other funding is left to tap? maybe prop 63?

- can we face the reality that even in a shelter $59 is not enough for some homeless populations, small families to survive? doesn't that just ratchet up the need to panhandle, doesnt that then just serve the city in criminalizing that behavior?

- how can we urge MOH and the BOS to develop housing per the Surplus Property Ordinance and identify new parcels? How can we direct a stream of funding for this automatically, knowing no help will come from MOH or REDEV?

- ultimately, it is the struggle to hold federal spending responsible for helping cities to combat the roots of poverty as well as provide them with adequate housing and services, so why can't the tribes unite around that? Newsom's pragmatism may have placed 805 people in housing, but there is great concern about the longer term effects of CNC, and how many people may be made homeless as a result of CNC, backfilling or backlash whatever you want to call it.

- also, there has been no evidence to support the Newsom claim that the 1000 GA enrollees who dropped off as a result of CNC were just out of district freeloaders, a number critics say has ambiguously been used to spin more success. there is now an investigation into determining how many indeed were just freeloaders versus how many have simply chosen not sign up for only $59 of GA now, especially given the hassle CNC may also cause.

- as easy as it is for some CNC registers to get housing immediately, the reality is many are deep and stuck in the trenches of shelter life, and the run around in application and placement process delays, there are a lot of jams caused by CNC.

- this recent hearing really gets at the war that has been set up between the long time services community here and the new CNC gang over funding, http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=8 APRIL 18 2005

Beyondchron article on that same hearing

The National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness (Paul Boden
head of Wester Regional Advocacy Program is on the board. Good
stuff here) http://www.npach.org/

And this guy,Dennis P. Culhane from UPENN (
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/cmhpsr/directory/Dennis_homepage.htm), is being credited with a lot of the research that the the Newsom homeless administration and guys like Dariush Kayhan, director, Housing and Homeless Programs, San Francisco Department of Human Services are crediting for the strategy of their homeless policy.

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