Prop C funds released! San Francisco takes first step to move dial on homelessness

The history of housing and homelessness in San Francisco is rife with violence, racism and inhumanity. It is no different today, with sheriff-enforced evictions, DPW and SFPD sweeps of homeless people from their sleep in 2 a.m. raids and systematic gentrification of Black and Brown neighborhoods. So many people born and raised here have been pushed out of their own homes and into the streets to make room for tech oligarchs and their minions to reside alone in remodeled open floor plan one-bedrooms that once housed whole families – an injustice the city has committed against its own. Proposition C funnels $300 million annually towards permanent housing, shelter, mental health care and services for homeless San Francisco residents as a 0.5 percent tax on businesses making over $50 million a year – pennies for them, but potentially shelter for people in desperate need. – Photo: Beth LaBerge, KQED

First big release of Prop C funds grounded in homeless people’s experiences

by Jennifer Friedenbach, Coalition on Homelessness 

San Francisco – The Our City Our Home Oversight Committee released its first big outlay including funding for exits out of homelessness for over 3,200 households, including the acquisition of over 1,000 units, funding estimated to prevent homelessness for some 21,000 San Franciscans and more than 1,000 new shelter beds. 

The oversight committee is appointed by the Board of Supervisors and the mayor as outlined in the legal text and is charged with recommending how funding should be used. The body garnered input from over 850 people, mostly those with lived experience with homelessness, as well as city departments and service providers to guide their decision making. 

The measure calls for half of the funding to go to permanent housing and one quarter to go to behavioral health, as well as investments in prevention and shelter. It also dictates housing for families with children and youth. 

The initiative funnels $300 million annually towards permanent housing, shelter, mental health care and services for homeless San Francisco residents.

“This measure captured the hearts of San Franciscans and we are thrilled the oversight body is embracing the spirit of the grassroots effort that made it happen and the intention of the voters. These funding recommendations will transform impoverished people’s lives suffering from homelessness in uncountable ways,” says Tracey Mixon, a formerly homeless parent and Our City Our Home Coalition member.

Proposition C passed in November 2020 with over 60 percent support. The initiative funnels $300 million annually towards permanent housing, shelter, mental health care and services for homeless San Francisco residents. The measure also allows funding to help several thousand San Franciscans stay in their homes through rental assistance and other supports. 

Funding is derived from an average of 0.5 percent gross receipts tax on business revenue in excess of $50 million annually. The measure faced a legal challenge but won that case and the funds were released last fall. These recommendations will now go to the mayor and BOS for final approval. 

According to Julia D’Antonio, a formerly homeless parent and COH Oversight Board member and vice chair, “Our City Our Home, Proposition C, was birthed in the community, and we are asking the city to honor that spirit by listening to people with lived experience who are calling for an emphasis on housing for all homeless people including families and youth, as well as behavioral health treatment, shelter and prevention.”  

Jennifer Friedenbach is the director of the Coalition on Homelessness, located at 280 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. Reach them by phone 415-346-3740 or online http://www.cohsf.org/, and follow them on social media @coalitiononhomelessness. Email Jennifer at jfriedenbach@cohsf.org.