In the face of a legal challenge, Proposition C supporters are calling for the recent budget windfall to be directed toward homelessness.
San Francisco leaders have control an extra $181 million windfall in property tax revenue and differing visions for exactly how that should be spent. Prop. C supporters, frustrated by the lack of implementation of business taxes that would garner about $300 million each year for homelessness services, presented a budget for Mayor London Breed on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday.
They called for half of the windfall to go toward permanent housing, a quarter of it to be spent on behavioral health, 15 percent for preventing homelessness through rental assistance and eviction defense, and the last 10 percent to be spent on emergency shelters and drop-in hygiene programs. The city is not directing Prop. C funds toward these services while a legal challenge is pending.
A group of people who either face homelessness or did in the past attested to the need for such funds by sharing stories about sleeping in cars with children and relying on McDonald’s to brush their teeth. Reina Cruz, who now lives in Mercy Housing, developed such severe stress from not having a home with her three children that she had blood clots in her throat.
“Deep down inside you know you’re capable but just because of your appearance, people close their doors on us,” said Cruz, translated by Raul Fernandez. “We want the city to comply with the spirit of Prop. C.”
Breed seeks to give the Mayor’s Office of Housing $90.5 million for affordable housing and the other $90.5 million to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and Department of Public Health. School board member and Supervisor-elect Matt Haney has proposed to have a larger portion go toward to school district, citing the low budgeting from property tax revenue.
Tracey Mixon, who lives in a shelter with her eight-year-old daughter and previously expressed disappointment in Breed’s opposition to Prop. C, said she was “thrilled” the windfall is being put toward supplemental housing.
“It’s very important the city listens to the voices that are homeless,” said Margarita Aleman of social justice group PODER. “That’s why it’s important for the city to distribute these funds.”