A PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Coalition on Homelessness, SF (coh@sfo.com)
Sat, 30 Oct 1999 13:23:33 -0800


A PLAN TO END HOMELESSNESS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Compiled by Homeless and Poor People in San Francisco

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S CONGRESS
October 27, 1999
Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco




WE THE HOMELESS PEOPLE
ratify the following action plan to end homelessness on this
twenty-seventh of October, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Nine.


Introduction:

San Francisco has failed to solve the problem of homelessness.  While
the number of homeless individuals and families in San Francisco and
across the U.S. has continued to rise at an alarming rate, we have
witnessed an alarming increase in police-based responses to the presence
of homeless people in public spaces. But homelessness is an economic
issue, not a nuisance issue.

There has been precious little public discussion of the reality that
homelessness, like most other social problems, can, in fact, be
alleviated.  The Coalition on Homelessness submits the following Plan
For Action to all concerned residents of the City and County of San
Francisco, and urge all who are concerned about the homeless problem to
take action for change.


Guiding Principles:

o  	We must ensure that homeless people can actively participate in
the development and implementation of programs and policies that
directly or indirectly impact homeless people.

o 	The City must stop sinking money into temporary Band-Aid
solutions.

o  	The City must stop creating and continuing policies that
criminalize people for life sustaining acts that they must do in public
because they are homeless.

o  	The City must ensure that all services in San Francisco must be
provided with dignity, respect and equality.

o	The City and its Departments must provide honest, accurate and
timely information about policies and decision making.

o	Services should be culturally appropriate and competent for the
populations being served.



Action Steps

Housing:

The City must have a commitment to provide dignified, decent
housing to meet the needs of homeless and very low-income people in San
Francisco.  Central to this commitment is the responsibility to develop
new funding sources dedicated to the creation of  truly affordable
housing.

1.	Create a Housing Trust Fund from general fund money that is
dedicated to the creation of low income housing.

2.	All new housing should be developed, maintained and operated by
homeless people paid a living wage and available for all homeless San
Franciscans regardless of background.

o	For those who need it, mental health and substance use services
would be offered.

o	Housing created should serve all those who are homeless individuals
including unmarried couples, alternative families, youth, seniors, and
people with disabilities.

o	Housing  created should have kitchen facilities and adequate
bathroom/shower facilities.

o	Low income housing must make accommodations for people's pets.

o	Substance use should not be a barrier to housing.

3.	Create housing subsidies for families and individuals to ensure
that a shorter waiting list for Section 8, and other housing programs exists.

4.	Pass legislation that mandates that 20% of all surplus public
lands be dedicated to housing homeless people.

5.	Change HUD regulation to give currently homeless families and
individuals priority to get into public housing.

6.	Make existing housing available at the Presidio for homeless
people.

7.	Pass the Public Housing Protection Act that would provide one to
one replacement of all HUD housing units demolished by the federal
government, ensures financial accountability, and guarantees the rights
of people to return to housing.

8.	Expand funding a citywide eviction prevention which combines legal
services with grants for back payment of rent.

9.	Hotels must not be allowed to force people to move after 27 days
to avoid their gaining tenant rights.  All other loopholes allowing
landlords to evict low income tenants should be closed.

10.	Implement "vacancy control" so landlords will not be allowed to
raise the rent when a tenant moves out.

11. 	Utilize housing that is in tax default and has code violations
for homeless families and individuals.

12. 	Ensure that housing affordable to extremely and very low-income
people will conform to health and building standards by holding funding
contingent on buildings meeting health and safety codes.

13.  Hotels should be restricted from charging residents for
non-overnight visitors.  One piece of ID should be sufficient for
visitors.

14.	Change laws to make squatting legal.

15. 	Refuse to let police or Sheriff evict tenants under new
non-citizenship clause of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility
Act.

16.	Ban HUD from sharing information with the INS.



Economic Justice:

People must have adequate access to humane employment, and economic
opportunities in order to acquire and maintain housing.

1.	Actively support a living wage bill in San Francisco that will
allow working families and individuals to be self-sufficient.

2.	Ensure full implementation of First Source Legislation which
requires  businesses that contract with the city to hire homeless people
and public assistance recipients, as well as have training programs that
lead people into jobs.

3.	Establish citywide jobs program, making  200 full-time and 100
part-time jobs available to workfare workers at prevailing wages for a
period of 2 years.

4.	Award workfare workers the rights of other union employees,
including paying prevailing wages, work place protections and allow for
other benefits.

5.	Provide more language and training programs for all individuals
with more appropriate schedules that allow for those that work or have
children to attend.

6.	Provide training and opportunities in alternative economies where
documentation is not a barrier to employment.  This includes the
creation of more day labor and casual labor opportunities where you are
hired if you show up and you are paid at the end of the day.  Workers
should  also be provided with worker rights training.

7.	Provide job retention services to ensure that there are necessary
support services for homeless people placed in jobs.

8.	Make quality, affordable childcare available to working parents
and those in search of work.

9.	Make welfare treat recipients with respect: keep recipients
informed of their status, reduce paperwork, and provide ongoing,
adequate training for workers.

10.	Expedite reciprocity agreement with adjoining counties that allow
families forced to leave San Francisco to continue their training,
education, childcare and other welfare related programs in San Francisco
while they receive their benefits in their new county of residence.

11.	All welfare recipients should receive an annual cost of living
increase.

12. 	Voluntary money management program should be available for those
who seek it.

13.	Reform the PAES program to  include  voluntary job placement. and
provision of decent housing for no more than 30% of monthly income.
Department of Human Services should not stipulate where PAES recipients
look for employment.

14.  	Provide more employment opportunities that do not discriminate
based on criminal convictions, legal status and lack of official
identification.

15.  	The City should apply for State and Federal grants to create
jobs that pay a living wage.

16. 	Places need to be established for homeless people to put their
pets and belongings while they are working, as well as availability of
appropriate work and interview clothing.

17.	Service providers and businesses should have apprenticeship
programs for homeless people to enter the  industry.

18.   All services, including shelters, job training, education, and
health care must be accessible to employed individuals needs.



Health Care:

Health care must be made accessible and available to all, focused on
quality, appropriate to the needs of patients or clients, integrated in
its approach, convenient in its location and compassionate in its
application.

1.	Commit to full funding of treatment on demand to build a community
based treatment system that fully serves the diversity of San Francisco.

o	This must include bilingual and culturally appropriate substance
use treatment.

o	Access should also include twenty-four hour services such as detox,
and include facilities for youth.

o	Minors should be able to access to all treatment (including
methadone) without parental consent or fear of legal trouble.

o	Aftercare for people who go through residential or outpatient drug
treatment to help them adjust to life on the outsides.

o	Harm reduction principles should be integrated into all treatment
programs.

2. 	Rebuild the mental health care system to address both the acute
and chronic mental health care needs of homeless San Franciscans,
including culturally appropriate and bilingual mental health care.  This
includes the expansion of all levels of treatment including expansion of
residential treatment programs, both in number and length of stay.
Mental health treatment should be voluntary and not require
incarceration in order to access treatment.

3.	Guaranteed access and clientele's choice to the latest medication
and therapy including holistic therapy.

4.	The City must make all efforts to make health care facilities
welcome and available to homeless people.  This means having well
trained staff, as well as not prohibiting homeless people from being on
clinic properties after hours.

5.	Increase availability of mobile medical vans to increase access to
health care to people who are unable to access the clinics and
hospitals.

6.	Provide bilingual and culturally sensitive programs for women that
come from domestic violence.

7.	Bathrooms should be accessible 24 hours throughout the City.

8.  	Ensure that individuals who are hospitalized during their stay
at a shelter do not lose their bed space.


Civil and Human Rights:

The human and civil rights of all people must be respected, regardless
of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or economic status.
People forced to live on the streets and in shelters should not face 
additional discrimination as a result

1.	Always separate the criminal justice system from service providers
and the provision of benefits.

2.	Take affirmative steps to end hate crimes directed against
homeless and very poor people.

3.	Prohibit all private taxation "benefit zones," (Business
Improvement Districts) that privatize public spaces and act to further
criminalize homelessness through the use of private security forces.

4.	All social service staff should be well trained and safeguard the
privacy and property rights of homeless people.

5.	All homeless people should be treated with respect, equality and
without discrimination regardless of race, ethnicity, religion,
disability, housing and economic status, substance use, nature of
employment, age, immigration status, gender, gender preference, or
sexual orientation.

6.	Embrace equal access to public spaces for homeless and non
homeless people, including the elimination of architectural barriers to
people being in such public places.

7.	Ban all laws, and enforcement of laws that in practice target
homeless people for their status of being homeless.

8.	Implement a comprehensive independent grievance process for all
city social services and treatment programs.

9. 	Provide twenty four hour notice before removing homeless people's
unattended property, and stop the confiscation of any property that is
attended.

10. 	All programs must comply with applicable local, state and
federal disability rights laws protecting the rights of persons with
disabilities and insuring access to government benefits and services.

11.  Programs that provide shelter, housing and treatment services to
families shall not require that families separate as a condition of
obtaining these resources. This includes alternative families and
unmarried couples.

12.	Ensure that community oversight bodies, including Local Homeless
Coordinating Board, are empowered in full, work to receive direct input
from people using the services, and ensure both quality services and
financial accountability.

13.	Ensure Shelter Monitoring Committee is fully empowered in all
city funded shelters to monitor shelters, and receive direct input from
homeless people staying in shelters, as well as front line staff.


Conclusion

In a City which is rapidly losing affordable housing, the above steps
should be viewed as steps toward proactively addressing homelessness.
So long as public discourse on the problem of homelessness remains
centered around "Quality of Life," and is not explicitly linked to the
lack of affordable housing, subsidized health care, economic equity, and
civil rights for the City's indigent residents, the problem will
continue to grow.

It is has been said that so long as one person is hungry, none can eat
in peace. It should also be said that as long as one person is
homeless, none can sleep in peace. It is in the spirit of this truth that we
must not complacently accept that people are sleeping on the streets 
in San Francisco.

With hard work, we can end homelessness once and for all.

We urge all people concerned about the future of San Francisco to
earnestly evaluate this Plan.  And then to Act upon it.




********************************************************************
A note on how this document was put together:
This document was based on input received from over 250 homeless 
people at twenty-six different meetings taking place around the city 
during the months of June, July, and August.  The sites where input 
was gathered include:  United
Nations Plaza, Collingwood Park, Cesar Chavez Street, Dolores Street Community
Services, Golden Gate Park,  Multi-Service Center North shelter, Multi-Service
Center South shelter, Hamilton Family Shelter, Vehicularly Housed 
Residential Association, St. Anthony's Women's shelter, Lutheran 
Church, St. Anthony's
Poverello Room, A Women's Place, Mission Rock, A Man's Place, The 
Sanctuary Shelter, Lutheran Church, Hospitality House, United Nations 
Plaza, Collingwood
Park, Cesar Chavez Street, Dolores Street Community Services, Golden 
Gate Park, Washington Square Park, Haight Ashbury Youth Outreach, and 
McMillan Drop-In Center.
Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
vox: (415) 346.3740
Fax: (415) 775.5639
coh@sfo.com
http://www.sfo.com/~coh