Healing Our Homeless Crisis

In a prosperous nation, state and city, no human being should be forced to live on the street. Unfortunately that is the reality for thousands of people in our city. We can do better. Tents are not acceptable shelter for homeless residents – our goal must be to move residents out of tents and into shelter.

As San Francisco’s Mayor, Jane Kim will address San Francisco’s crisis of homelessness.

Yes, I agree! We must heal our homeless crisis.

Action Now

  • Increase daytime hours and staffing at shelters so homeless residents have a place to go during the day
  • Deploy new City-operated ‘Lava Mae’-style mobile bath/shower buses for our Homeless residents where and when needed citywide.

  • Add new street cleaning teams comprised of formerly homeless residents and those re-entering the workforce to dramatically improve quick-response street and sidewalk cleaning citywide.

Jane is not waiting to get started. As District 6 Supervisor, she will submit a “Successful Homeless Housing and Community Services Expansion Plan” for inclusion in the City’s 2018-19 Budget. It will provide additional City Budget funding to quickly expand the City programs that are making a real difference now and support or replicate other community programs that have been proven to work.

Addressing the Public Health Needs

  • Expand the Behavioral Health Court model to help mentally ill residents get treatment, not jail time. Far too often, mentally ill or addicted homeless residents are put into our criminal justice system rather than the healthcare system. Jane Kim would work to address the reasons why people end up on the streets and get them the care they need.
  • Build more 24/7 “medical respite” shelters staffed by nurses, clinicians and psychologists.
  • Work with local hospitals to determine if additional beds could be made available for homeless residents requiring acute medical attention.
  • Simplify and streamline the process for homeless residents to access shelter.
  • Explore use of first right of refusal to acquire empty or underutilized properties potentially using eminent domain. It is unacceptable for landlords to be sitting on blighted properties in the middle of a housing crisis.

In 2012, Jane committed to spending a night in a shelter and went through the reservation system just like any other resident. What she found was that the homeless population was far sicker and older than she expected. In 2017, 51% of our homeless residents were 41 and over; 32% were aged 51 and over. More than two-thirds of those who responded to the 2017 “point in time” survey reported one or more health conditions – and nationally the average life expectancy of those experiencing homelessness is 25 years less than those in stable housing. This knowledge has fueled Jane’s efforts to treat this crisis as a public health emergency.

Expanding Shelters, Supportive and Permanent Housing

  • Extend the length of time residents can remain in Navigation Centers, until more permanent shelter beds are available
  • Expand the number of beds in Navigation Centers until more permanent shelter beds are available. Prioritize the use of underutilized City property for this.
  • Simplify and streamline the process for homeless residents to access shelter.
  • Push to build more affordable housing to increase our housing supply for formerly homeless, low-income and middle income families.
  • Work with non-profits and Community Benefit Districts to expand Downtown Streets Teams to hire homeless residents to help clean the streets and earn a fair wage. (Read Jane’s plan to clean our streets here.)
  • Immediately conduct an audit on SRO facilities building upon the work that has been done previously by the Department of Building Inspection and housing advocates to identify units that are unoccupied or under-occupied. We need to better understand the full potential of this resource and ways to incentive the use of vacant units for much needed housing.
  • Identify the specific barriers faced by seniors, LGBTQ youth and African Americans who are disproportionately homeless to develop solutions specific to their needs.

We cannot truly address homelessness without providing a place for those residents to go. Jane Kim has worked hard to expand shelter access, create affordable housing for the formerly homeless and help residents access the “ladder” of housing to bring stability to their lives.

Beyond Shelter

For those who are in permanent supportive housing already, our goal is to help to stabilize their lives and futures through job training and employment access. Jane has repeatedly pushed to expand economic opportunity to lift up all residents. She authored the legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and make City College free for all residents. As our mayor, Jane would work with supportive housing providers, community based job training programs, City College and others to develop a program of community engagement and employment for these residents. Jane knows that homelessness will only be addressed by helping those on the street heal while providing housing and job opportunities.

Jane Kim: Fighting for Our Residents

  • Won funding to expand medical respite shelter
  • Worked with Mayor Lee to build a new Mission Bay affordable housing project for homeless families and veterans.
  • Negotiated affordable housing for formerly homeless families as part of the 5M development
  • Introduced plan to create 50 permanent supportive housing units at the Minna Lee Hotel
  • Successfully advocated for a Navigation Center specifically for homeless women and pregnant women who face an increased risk of sexual violence living on the streets.
  • Secured funding for nurses to be stationed in every adult shelter in the city, resulting in cost savings from early identification of conditions and diseases to preempting costly 911 calls with ambulance transport to emergency rooms.
  • Streamlined 311 hotline for families and adults to be able to access shelter beds as quickly as possible
  • Supported homeless outreach and connection to services and shelter, including the use of Lava Mae mobile shower/bathroom service, at SF Public Library
  • Ensured that there was a full medical and mental health survey performed at all adult shelters (and county jail) to understand who are the residents at shelters and jails, why are they there, what do they really need to transition to stable shelter, self-sufficiency – first comprehensive health survey in SF to do this
  • Supported Homeless Emergency Service Providers Association (HESPA) budget requests every single year of her tenure as supervisor
  • Raised private funds to pilot the successful Pit Stop program which is now citywide – addressing the public health of everyone who uses the sidewalks and the streets of SF with an innovative model of fully-staffed, mobile, public toilet program which also aids in job creation for those reentering the workforce
  • Piloted conflict resolution and mindfulness program at adult shelter in her district for both residents and staff to address the primary and secondary trauma suffered by unhoused individuals and the severely underpaid staff and providing strategies for managing daily existence on the street and in shelter

Jane Kim has spent years working to expand shelter access, provide medical services in the shelter-system and move homeless individuals and families into stable homes – and that’s exactly what she’ll continue to do.

Yes, I agree! We must heal our homeless crisis.
April 5, 2018|