The Mayor’s proposed $185 million housing bond is unacceptable to many of us. Here is why: Mayor Newsom’s original proposal of $150 million for supportive housing was one to which those of us who work with homeless people and/or on truly affordable housing for low income members of this community could work for with all out hearts and souls. I find it actually sad that there is an effort by some to crash in on this unique opportunity for solid assistance for homeless people and attempt to divert this potential funding from these individuals and families who are so desperately poor that they must literally sleep on the streets.
It is not that any of us fail to recognize the right for homeownership of those seeking the American dream and their need for assistance in realizing this dream. It is simply a matter of clear priorities, given this city’s growing crisis in homelessness and dire shortage of housing that is truly affordable to the poorest among us.
Furthermore, not all of us agree that having a broader proposal, which includes home ownership necessarily enhances its chances for passage by the voters. As a matter of fact, given the focus of the community on homelessness and its basic solution (supportive housing) over the past year, some of us feel that passage of a bond that would meet the basic need of homeless people actually has a better chance of passing.
I do understand that anything under $100 million for supportive housing would allow for the 5 years plan, as opposed to the 10 year plan that has been rejected. So, setting $95 million for supportive housing, and then increasing the amount for affordable rental housing (30-60%) to $90 million. The original intent, and a desperate priority, was to help homeless people. This proposal would do that as well as help those on the brink of homelessness.
This guest editorial is by Sister Bernie Galvin, Religious Witness With Homeless People