What Can We Do About Homelessness?

Homelessness is San Francisco’s biggest problem. It falls particularly heavily on District 6. Solving homelessness can’t be accomplished with only one program or only one strategy, we have to make efforts in three categories: prevention, management and cure.

The best way to fight homelessness is to prevent it from happening in the first place. We have to make sure that the most vulnerable tenants aren’t pushed out of their homes, with no place to go. Supervisors Jeff Sheehy and London Breed have introduced legislation that would ensure all SF tenants have access to an attorney when faced with an eviction. Read more about Right to Civil Counsel.

For most people, homelessness is a temporary condition. Our many programs do work, but they take time. How are we managing people while they are on the waiting list for permanent housing? Any D6 resident can see - the city is telling them to sleep outside. When the shelters are full, when a person experiencing homelessness gets to the end of their 60 day allotment at the Navigation Center, the social worker tells them the only place for them to go is the street.

We have to do better. We have to follow the lead of Seattle, San Jose and Oakland and set up Safe, Organized Spaces for people who are waiting for permanent housing to live, without harassment or fear, and without having to sleep on the sidewalks and streets. Read more about Safe Organized Spaces.

Ultimately, the root of the homelessness crisis is our shortage of housing that is affordable to seniors, people on disability and even working people. We can build affordable housing, and we need to build it quickly. YIMBY Action’s “Affordable and Teacher Housing Now” ballot measure will grant automatic approvals for proposed housing developments that are affordable to middle and low income residents. This will speed up the approval process, and even more important, it will make it more efficient - saving the public money that can then be spent on providing more housing. Read more about Affordable and Teacher Housing NOW!

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