No Shelter from the Storm

As the rainstorm continues this weekend, there is no clearer way to see the difference between my campaign and my opponent’s than to think about the thousands of families trying to find some shelter from this storm.

Many of us walk by our neighbors who do not have a stable and secure place to call a home on our streets. We often feel helpless and wish we could do something more to reduce the suffering on our streets.

My opponent Scott Wiener, however, wants to take their only form of shelter and their belongings, and keep walking.

Now my opponent will say that it is inhumane to let people sleep in tent encampments — I agree. But it’s also inhumane to take away someone’s only form of shelter, even women and children, when we do not have an alternative to offer them.

I have visited our tent encampments and I have met working men and women, who leave their tents in the morning, to head to their jobs. I have met families and children. I have met seniors who were evicted from their long-time rent-controlled units. Between the 2013 and 2015 San Francisco Homeless Count, we saw a 10% increase in individuals who declared that eviction was the primary reason for how they wound up on our streets.

There are roughly 6,700 individuals, including seniors and families, who do not have a home to go to on any given night in San Francisco. Our city only provides 1,200 shelter beds — this means there are 35 shelter beds for every 100 individuals who call the streets their home.

I am supporting real solutions to address our homelessness crisis in San Francisco. I have fought for, and won, the most affordable housing on our Board of Supervisors. I strongly supported bold tenant protections, rental subsidies for families at risk of eviction and eviction defense funding. Last year, I won $6.6M to build out a 24-hour medical respite shelter in my district, a shelter that will be staffed by nurses, clinicians and psychologists to treat the sickest people on our streets who are now cycled in and out of General Hospital’s emergency room. I funded seven monitored pit stops in the Tenderloin and SoMa so that people can go to the bathroom with dignity and we can reduce urination and human feces on our streets. I have called to examine creative options like low-cost modular housing to more quickly and more cheaply build units for individuals who are insecurely housed. I negotiated and authored one of the strongest minimum wage ordinances in the country raising our minimum wage to $15 and am fighting to make City College free again for San Francisco residents so that we can put more income in the pockets of our everyday residents.

Finally, I believe our cities alone cannot solve homelessness — so I have asked Sacramento to declare a statewide emergency on homelessness so we can dedicate the resources we need to truly address this issue. This is not just a San Francisco issue. This is a California issue. And the LA City Council joined our call as well. With over 20% of the nation’s homeless count residing in the state of California — we must all do more together.

I stand for real solutions. I do not support “permanent” encampments as Scott claims. I support a compassionate solution that creates alternatives first.

Taking away shelter is not a solution. It is a cruel reaction to a terrible problem, and Scott Wiener is standing with a small group of billionaires who are funding a political campaign that is demonizing and criminalizing the homeless and demanding that we take away the little shelter they have with no real alternatives to offer them.

The big corporations and powerful interest groups behind my opponent, including Chevron and the real estate lobby, have launched yet another negative ad attacking me on my positions in regards to the homeless. In the world of politics you already know that is completely inaccurate. But we have prepared a response ad you can see here.

This issue is so important, and I wanted to do more than just post an ad that responds to their attacks. I wanted to share with you my actual record and my work helping people leave the streets and find permanent housing.

Real solutions involve rolling up our sleeves and truly taking care of our entire community comprehensively. I hope you will stand with me and join our fight.

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