The Homelessness Crisis: A Failure of Policy

Right now, we as a country criminalize poverty. This is a pervasive persistent problem that makes homelessness even worse, since having an (undeserved) criminal record prevents qualified people from finding homes.

We need to take a closer look at the CIA’s 1990s-era violent drug trade in our cities, which helped create a militarized police force and the prison industrial complex. I propose holding banks, bankers, and other predatory lenders criminally accountable. Homelessness issues extend beyond renters subject to consolidated large rental groups or rental property landowners. We have seen large mortgage lenders like Wells Fargo wreak havoc on homeowners in 2008 & consolidated groups continue practices which hurt homeowners and renters over the past decade. But criminal justice can only take us so far. Homelessness will truly be solved when we create enough affordable long-term housing and new job opportunities. The Green New Deal, mental health services which would be covered by Medicare for All, and resources like peer counseling and social workers would create these opportunities.

Do you support conservatorship? Why or why not?

I do not. When used appropriately, the public guardian can be a powerful force for good, protecting those most vulnerable among us. However, the conservatorship process of the courts can be too easily misused to subvert personal autonomy to promote commercial or other interests. We must be certain that these extraordinary powers are only used in extraordinary circumstances as permitted by the United States and California Constitutions.

Do you support navigation centers? Should each supervisorial district (all 11) have one?

Yes. Housing is a fundamental human right, and those experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness must be treated with kindness and dignity. Navigation centers should be funded and supported - providing access to shelter without pressuring people to abandon their partners, pets, and belongings is a critical need and promotes harm reduction. Centers should be spread across the city, such that each district should host at least one.

Do you support providing people experiencing homelessness with hotel rooms to shelter in place during the current pandemic? What services should be provided?

Yes, absolutely. Providing hotel rooms during the pandemic helps flatten the curve.

Should there be safe injection sites? Do you support expanded funding for rehabilitation centers?

Yes, we support supervised injection sites in particular, and harm reduction in general.

What policies would you advocate to support people experiencing homelessness in the long-term?

Policies I would advocate to support people experiencing long term homelessness include Medicare for All, expanded navigation center programs, and other harm reduction policies. Those experiencing long term homelessness need to be treated with dignity and have access to fundamental human needs.

What more can be done to reduce the homeless count in San Francisco?

San Francisco has more vacant homes and short-term rentals than homeless people. In addition to building or rehabilitating more community-owned, community-operated housing throughout the city, I support restricting short-term rentals and instituting vacancy taxes.

Do you support Mental Health SF?

Yes. Healthcare is a human right, and we can start making that commitment real here at home.