A ballot measure that would have made a change to San Francisco’s Care Not Cash program for the city’s homeless is being removed from the November ballot, Supervisor Jane Kim announced today.
Under the program, passed by voters in 2002 and implemented in 2004, homeless recipients of general cash assistance from San Francisco had the monthly $422 they received reduced to $59 in exchange for an offer of housing.
The measure proposed by Kim and four other supervisors had sought to exclude homeless shelters from the definition of housing in the program, since they said many vacant beds reserved for the program’s recipients are going unused while other homeless people are turned away from the shelters.
The proposal has been opposed by Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials, and today Kim announced that she and the other supervisors are removing the measure from the ballot after reaching a compromise with the mayor that she said will help address the problem.
The measure is being removed “with the understanding that there must be a far more comprehensive solution to the very real problems plaguing our shelter system,” Kim said in a statement.
According to her office, more than 32 percent of shelter beds are set aside for Care Not Cash recipients, who only make up about 6 percent of the city’s overall homeless population.
The city’s Human Services Agency has identified some administrative changes to make more room for the general homeless population, including reducing the number of reserved beds that are set aside for people other than the Care Not Cash recipients.
Bob Offer-Westort, an organizer for the Coalition on Homelessness, a community group that had been supporting the proposal, said he believed the supervisors made the wrong choice in taking it off the ballot.
“They essentially got bullied by the mayor’s office,” Offer-Westort said. “Once again, we’re seeing politics is taking precedent over good public policy.”
He said his group will push to get a similar measure on the ballot next year.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News