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Indybay Feature
Support Needed for Alternative Proposals on Homelessness
by Coalition on Homelessness
Thursday May 9th, 2002 2:02 PM
SF Supervisors are considering nasty new legislation that threatens to further criminalize homelessness. Your support is urgently needed at the upcoming hearing to push forward a community sponsored plan & contest the pending draconian measures.
May 3, 2002
Dear Friends of the Coalition:

As you know, there has been many pieces of legislation affecting homeless people that have been
introduced this year. Unfortunately, many of those would further oppress homeless people through
jail time for life sustaining activities, fingerprinting and increased bureaucracy. We have been
working to get some counter proposals that would address some of the issues, and allow for
homeless people to have a stronger voice in creating permanent solutions to homelessness.

Many of these issues, both positive and negative, will be going to hearing on Thursday, May 16,
2002 at 10:00 before the Health and Human Services Committee at the Board of Supervisors, in
City Hall. We are meeting at 9:30 am for a press conference/rally that same day on the Polk
street side of City Hall, on the steps. The hearing will be all day so we are hoping that people can
commit to staying for the duration. We will be providing breakfast and lunch. The agenda will be
split into different topic areas and we will get that out to people once it is finalized.

We need your help to ensure social and economic justice for homeless people on these issues. We
are looking for:


o organization endorsements to our platform (see below) by May 11, 2002.
o a commitment to not only come to the hearing, but to bring people with you.
o 1 - 2 speakers from each agency who would commit to coming to a speakers training on May 13
@ 5:00 at COH/468 Turk Street.

Please take the time to fill the form out below and e-mail/fax it back to us at
civilrights [at] sf-homeless-coalition.org or 775-5639.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Endorsement Form

Name of Organization:_______________________________________

Your Name: ____________________________________________

Signature: ________________________________________

Contact Phone: ____________________ email: ______________

[ ] We endorse the "Vote on Real Solutions to Homelessness" platform


[ ] We can commit to turning out people for the hearing

[ ] We can commit to the speakers training, May 13 @ 5:00
Names and phone # of those that can attend:


_____________________________

_____________________________


VOTE ON REAL SOLUTIONS TO HOMELESSNESS!
There has been many pieces of legislation affecting homeless people that have been introduced this
year. Unfortunately, many of those would further oppress homeless people through jail time for life
sustaining activities, fingerprinting and increased bureaucracy. The Homeless Resistance Work
Group been forwarding counter proposals that would address issues, and allow for homeless people
to have a stronger voice in creating permanent solutions to homelessness. It is vitally important to
the lives of homeless people that this package be voted on as indicated.

YES to creating a mechanism for community input! NO on spending city resources on more
bureaucracy and duplication of efforts.

VOTE YES! on Monitoring Committees (TBD)
This legislation would create a mechanism for a community-based committee, comprised of
consumers, line staff, service providers and advocates, to provide monitoring and feedback to
homeless drop-in centers and shelter programs. It would also provide for civil rights and diversity
monitoring. The effectiveness of services would be increased by ensuring that policies and program
development reflect the needs of those they serve in a timely manner. Support community
accountability of homeless programs!

VOTE YES! On Continuum of Care Plan - Homeless Board Membership (011680)
This legislation would provide more equitable representation of the Local Homeless Coordinating
Board so that it is 1/2 Supervisor appointees, and 1/2 Mayor seats, with some neighborhood
representation for district Supervisors.

VOTE NO! on Department of Homeless Services Ordinance (012134)
VOTE NO! on Coordinated Intake for Homeless Programs (020416)
VOTE NO! on Interdepartmental Coordination of Homeless Services (020491)
These items started as different ideas combined into the homeless department legislation , then broke
off into several different pieces. This would create a department of homelessness, including an
advisory board, a coordinating council, a five-year plan, and a centralized information system in
order to access shelter beds. Interdepartmental Coordination would add to the number of required
signatures for contracts, a shelter contract monitoring advisory committee that does not reflect the
Continuum of Care recommendation for this body, and the creation of an annual report. In reality,
these ordinances would fund more bureaucracy and would duplicate efforts to create advisory
boards and plans that already exist.
It would also develop a centralized information system (012134 & 020416) that is extremely costly,
would add another layer of bureaucracy, and would exacerbate the problem of homelessness by
deterring people from seeking shelter, and potentially violate their confidentiality rights. Immigrants,
victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, and people involved in the criminal justice
system would be disparately effected especially with the fingerprinting component (mandated in
020416). Creating additional barriers for homeless people to receive services will only result in more
people on the streets and in medical and mental health crises. Do not support a measure that would
spend valuable city resources on creating more bureaucracy and on a database that will result in
less access to homeless people instead of more!

YES on measures that will create more links to services and housing to help people get off the
streets! NO on measures that would punish people for sleeping and loitering!

VOTE YES! on Direct Intakes Through Outreach (TBD)
This legislation would enable non-profit intake workers to accompany city outreach workers and
provide intakes where homeless people are on the streets. Too often, valuable time, money, and
resources are wasted or duplicated by referring people around town to various programs to be
placed on waiting lists. This would ensure that, as soon as a slot for services is open for a homeless
person, outreach teams are able to locate them, and intake workers have already screened them for
eligibility. Support a more streamlined and efficient process that would provide homeless people
direct access from the streets into treatment, housing, or support services programs!

VOTE YES! on Surplus Property for Housing Ordinance (011498)
This legislation would require each landholding city department to report on vacant city property
whose original use is no longer needed, and the property would be logged into a database. A
community advisory board, appointed by the Board of Supervisors, would determine if the property
is suitable for creation of affordable housing; to be used by non-profits providing homeless services;
or to sell in order to generate funding for affordable housing. Support utilizing our city resources to
create solutions to ending homelessness!

VOTE NO! on Prohibiting Sleeping or Lying on Sidewalks Ordinance (020292)
This legislation would make it illegal to sleep or lie on any public sidewalk, and would impose fines
up to $500 and/or 6 months jail time. It is unconstitutional to fine people for activities they cannot
avoid. Sleeping is a basic human need - it is not optional. Further, it will cost the city in police, court
and jail resources, money that could be spent on solving homelessness.
Although there has been separate legislation to increase shelter capacity (020291), this is inadequate
to meet the demand and does not address the issue of those with special needs who cannot live in a
shelter environment. Further, this year's city budget proposes cutting 3% from emergency shelter
budgets and up to 10% for homeless services in general. Do not support a plan that uses city
resources to punish people for sleeping on the streets when the city is not even able to maintain
the services it has. Create housing to effectively address this problem instead!

VOTE NO! on Prohibiting Loitering on Median Strips Ordinance (020019)
VOTE NO! on Prohibiting Loitering in City-Owned Parking Garages (020018)
This legislation would make it illegal for anyone to loiter on median strips or in city-owned parking
garages and would impose fines of up to $500 or 6 months in jail. Although clearly targeted toward
panhandlers and homeless people, these ordinances would outlaw all activities on medians other than
waiting for traffic to pass and prohibits all activities in garages other than parking a car. These laws
do not have a legitimate policy basis and will decrease freedoms that many San Franciscans and
guests to our city take for granted, like jogging, walking, or political and commercial leafletting.
Not only would this legislation cost the city resources in police, court, and jail costs, similar
ordinances were already rejected by San Franciscans. The proposed Pedestrian Safety Acts of 1999
would have made it illegal to stand, sit or lie on medians, crosswalks, or curbsides. It was widely
opposed by groups like the San Francisco Labor Council and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Vote no on this legislation that does not have a legitimate public policy basis. It is a direct attack
on homeless and poor people and would only use more city resources!

YES on real solutions to this sanitation problem! NO on punitive measures for urinating and
defecating in public!

VOTE YES! on Opening Public Toilets (020300)

This legislation would make great strides toward ending the city's sanitation crisis by making more
restrooms available to the public - including the poor and homeless community Support this plan to
solve the sanitation problem!

VOTE NO! on Prohibiting Urination & Defecation Ordinance (020293)
This legislation would make it illegal to urinate or defecate in public and would impose fines of up to
$500. This ordinance would be ineffective in solving this issue because it does not address why
people urinate and defecate in public-inaccessibility of restrooms! Imposing fines and incarcerating
people will not stop them from needing to urinate and defecate; these are basic human functions.
Further, it will cost the city in police and court resources. The city needs to address the sanitation
crisis through education and access to restrooms. Do not support a plan that punishes people for
doing what they need to do for survival and fails to address the real issue!

VOTE NO! on Closure of Select J.C. Decaux Automatic Pay Toilets (012242)
This legislation would close some of the only bathrooms that are accessible to homeless people
overnight
Do not support a plan that would only increase the public health crisis of urination and
defecation on the streets!
Add Your Comments
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Occum's RazorRealityBitesThursday May 16th, 2002 4:10 PM
3 choices not enoughjust wonderingSunday May 12th, 2002 9:35 PM
3 Choices for the HomelessTough LoveSaturday May 11th, 2002 8:49 PM
Answer" Change Places EllenThursday May 9th, 2002 3:54 PM
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