2017 April 13 – Mayors Budget Outreach Meeting on Homelessness
I was invited as a resident of D6 to attend the Mayors Budget Meeting on Homelesness. Supervisor Kim initiated the invitation, a number of D6 residents including Adam Mesnick of #betterSoMa and Deliboard. There were no other people attending as residents, though many in non profits may be residents. It was also the first time residents were invited.
The other attendees were: City Officials – Mayor Lee, Jeff Kositsky, Supervisor Kim, Supervisor Ronen, DPH and a number of staffers from these groups; Non Profits from all over the city though 99% are located in SOMA, who were there to request budget and hand in proposals.
The Mayor kicked off by acknowledging that Residents and Business are not seeing improvements on our streets. He also talked about the need to spread Navigation centers throughout the city. How we as residents see the budget numbers and wonder how we can still be walking over feces and tripping over tents. The need for mental health care and basically everything all of us have talked about for a long time.
Each city Official gave a quick update, Supervisor Kim talked about the need to spread the problem as pretty much all services are located in D6 particularly Western SOMA. Supervisor Ronen talked about the new Navigation Center in her district (there was a meeting for D9 residents that she setup I think last week – http://hoodline.com/2017/04/mission-neighbors-pack-town-hall-over-proposed-homeless-navigation-center). It was acknowledged that D6, D9 and D10 are the only districts with Navigation Centers.
Jeff Kositsky talked about the upcoming plans in his group which are detailed in the WSV meeting he attended last month. Basically we need more housing and we need to co-ordinate resources.
The rest of the meeting was focused on the non profits, one which particularly stood out was a group who are in the Haight and provide services and beds to young people some of whom are coming out of foster care, Larkin Street services and others on the street.. They have a huge waiting list and talked about the need for a Youth Navigation Center in that district. Jeff Kositsky there is a team looking at sites there at the moment. Another point was that SFPD time spent on homeless issues cost $19,000,000 last year (yes really)
I got to speak about the perception that the citys problems are being pushed to D6, that we concur with what the Mayor said in that we are not seeing improvements and our lives are blighted by tents, feces, needles, open drug use. I asked about the possibility of a safe injection sites – he said that though he was opposed he is open to hearing more and that Supervisor Breed has a proposal for “harm reduction sites” as they will be referred to. I also mentioned that we don’t know who to call regarding tents etc. 311 just comes and cleans around the tents, calling the police is a waste of their resources (see above). Jeff is working with the city departments on co-coordinating 311 and resources for encampments.
Feel free to respond with other questions. I was really honored to attend this meeting (I say that without any irony). Its so important for residents who voted (or not) for these officials and to keep them accountable.