[Hpn] SF EXAMINER : With Newsom in Mexico, supes pass CnC rival bill

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Wed, 09 Jul 2003 08:38:38 -0700

Publication date: 07/09/2003

With Newsom in Mexico, supes pass CnC rival bill

Of The Examiner Staff

With Supervisor Gavin Newsom vacationing with his wife in Mexico, six
members of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a rival version of his
Care Not Cash measure.

Supervisors Chris Daly, Fiona Ma, Sophie Maxwell (who postponed a flight to
make the meeting), Aaron Peskin, Gerardo Sandoval and Tom Ammiano united to
pass Daly's "Real Housing, Real Care," a measure identical to the welfare
reform voters passed at the ballot as Proposition N but for one key
provision -- before cutting cash grants to homeless people, The City must
offer them a hotel room or a bed in a drug- or alcohol-treatment program.

Ma said she has not supported Newsom's plan because she felt departments
would take the easy way out and push people into shelters instead of finding
decent housing.

Under Newsom's Care Not Cash, a shelter bed qualified as housing.

A Superior Court judge threw out much of Prop. N, which passed with nearly
60 percent of the vote, saying that welfare reform is a decision for the
legislature, not the voters. The City Attorney is appealing that decision
and meanwhile two homeless men have filed a second suit against the measure.
If the courts uphold the measure as passed by the electorate, it would
render moot any amendments. Additionally, Daly's measure still needs Mayor
Willie Brown's signature.

Newsom's measure appears one vote short of the six needed to pass.

Sandoval told reporters he believes there will be a number of amendments to
Care Not Cash over the years and hopes to build on the momentum Newsom has
built around the homeless reform issue.

Changing the measure's definition of housing to exclude shelter beds was an
easy call, he said.

"It's like steak without the cholesterol," Sandoval said.

Hall said he opposes both measures because of additional costs over current
welfare and subsidized housing spending.

Daly estimated that housing the current homeless welfare populations --
about 2,800 people -- will cost an additional $10 million to $15 million
more than current cash grant spending. He said he thinks a few hundred
people will declare some sort of housing status to continue collecting their
checks, as they would under Care Not Cash. He said a few hundred in the next
year will leave the streets and take rooms in residential hotels under his

He said it will take a few years to get enough housing stock for all the
welfare recipients living on the streets, but that his amendments made Care
Not Cash "less reckless."

Under the Daly measure, homeless welfare recipients would be offered housing
and have their monthly grants cut to $59. If they refused housing, The City
would still cut their grants.

About 80 homelessness activists rallied outside City Hall before the board
meeting and, after taking seats inside, erupted in chants and threats when
supervisors voted to hold off on a vote on Care Not Cash a week until Newsom
is present. They had hoped to kill it immediately.

The Coalition on Homelessness opposes Daly's measure as well because it
would take away the ability of homeless people to decide how to spend their
welfare checks, currently ranging from $350-$395.

"You can't say no" to either a room or a reduced grant, Daly acknowledged.
"It's a political compromise."

E-mail: ahampton@examiner.com

chance martin, Project Coordinator
A Publication of the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
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