Last month, roughly 200 of our District 3 neighbors gathered at Broadway Studios to discuss rising homelessness in the community. Thank you to Cmdr. David Lazar, Capt. Paul Yep from SFPD Central Station, Director Jeff Kositsky from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, and Director Mohammed Nuru from S.F. Public Works for helping lead the discussion. After informative presentations from the departments and a robust question-and-answer session, the community overwhelmingly expressed its support of a Navigation Center as an important tool in addressing homelessness.
In the last several weeks, my office has identified two possible sites in the district, 88 Broadway and Pier 23. We are now working with city departments and the community to better understand the issues with each site, and we will be bringing alternative designs back to the community this month. The urgency is obvious: While many of us will be enjoying the holidays with a roof over our heads and a warm meal to share with loved ones, many of our neighbors will be wet and cold on our city streets, their suffering compounded by mental and physical illness.
As city staff explained at the November community meeting, a Navigation Center is a temporary hub for one-stop resources to help our chronically homeless residents. They are first identified by the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) as being eligible based on the intractable nature of their situation and the duration of their time on the streets.
San Francisco Public Works has taken great pains to construct beautiful facilities that offer privacy, dignity, healing, and communal gathering space away from the public realm. Mental health counseling and case management are provided on-site, and the goal is laser-focused on helping residents “navigate” the labyrinth of paperwork and steps necessary to become permanently housed. Temporarily vacant lots are ideal, and can be quickly constructed and then taken down to be used for another site.
There is no silver bullet to end homelessness, but our goal is to house as many San Franciscans as possible and allow them the opportunity to stabilize and reintegrate into the workforce and society. I was overwhelmed by the positive response at the community meeting. Residents channeled their anger and frustration into pushing a positive proactive goal, and it made me incredibly proud to be the District 3 supervisor. I hope this holiday season we don’t stop at giving thanks but give hope and action as well.
SPEAKING OF GIVING . . .
The San Francisco Transportation Task Force 2045 is winding down to its final recommendations, and representatives from neighborhood associations and transportation and pedestrian advocacy groups have unequivocally come down on the side of asking the big winners in the business sector to start paying their fair share for our mounting transportation operation and infrastructure costs in the form of an increase to the low commercial rent tax big office owners pay the city.
In addition, there continues to be a rallying call to ask gig economy businesses — particularly those that use our city streets for deliveries and ride-hail — to start paying their fair share as well. Representatives have asked for a gross-receipts business tax package for 2018 that would shift the tax burden from everyday San Franciscans to the big business sector in this booming economy.
Not surprisingly, the big business representatives on the task force are still pushing a sales tax. My hope is that we can all come together on a 2018 measure that will equitably generate badly needed funding for transportation, which we can always revisit in 2020.
For those of you who have written my office complaining about the need for more buses, protected bike lanes, pedestrian scramble signals, better road conditions, and investment into regional projects such as BART or Caltrain: 2018 will be an opportunity to infuse all of these public projects with critical dollars.
If I don’t see you before the new year, I want to wish you and your families a peaceful holiday season, filled with love and community — and a 2018 filled with fresh hope!
See you around the neighborhood.