The long wait for sleep - Page 3

The Fair Shelter Initiative could reduce endless waiting times at homeless shelters

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People are often forced to sleep on the streets even as beds in the San Francisco's homeless shelters are kept vacant.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY BEN HOPFER

Palmer falls into the category of people who might benefit from a shorter wait time if Kim's initiative were in place. He was just one of many who turned up at the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center — a homeless drop-in center that offers a clinic, shower, and laundry facilities — to watch a movie and eat supper. Two of the others there said they had experienced traumatic brain injuries and had been victims of identity theft. A construction worker explained that he was seeking odd jobs with little luck. Another man shuffled impatiently back and forth as he spoke, scratching incessantly, while he condemned the entire homeless services system as corrupt.

The measure has drawn opposition from Mayor Lee, who is "concerned that changes to Care Not Cash may begin a process that would unravel the program," according to Christine Falvey, Lee's spokesperson. "He wants to make sure we don't do anything to prevent our department from providing the program."

Falvey also noted that Lee was interested in meeting with advocates to find an administrative fix, rather than a ballot initiative, that could address concerns about the shortcomings of the shelter system. Kim expressed some openness to that idea at a hearing, but seemed committed to moving forward with changing the system that's in place. "We do want to address inequity," she said. "There absolutely should be no vacant beds."

Comments

I totally support this initiative. It is remedial action that is long overdue.

Posted by Mark Barnes on Jul. 19, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

I wish the Guardian would someday choose to get its facts straight. Last year the Coalition on Homelessness' argument against Prop L was that there was not enough shelter beds for all the homeless in our city. Now, they claim there are hundreds of beds that go unused each night? San Francisco is one of the most giving and progressive cities in the world when it comes to social and homeless services. Let's have an honest conversation and really decide if the city can afford to pay $422 a month to thousands of homeless residents. If this initiative does pass there will be a new influx of homeless residents coming to our city looking to cash in, and the ones who are already here who desperately need the services will be the ones who will suffer more. Reality should trump political desires in this debate.

Posted by Care not Cash on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 9:33 am

Jesus-friggin-Christ! The root of the problem isn't whether CNC works better than cash, its the fact a new recipient only needs to be a city/county resident 2 WEEKS to apply. If the residency requirement where one year, all the assistance programs would be benefitting real residents rather than traveling freeloaders.
Those against CNC say cash draws people here. Bullshit. Every city gives cash, what draws them to SF from nearby cities is the quick residency requirement, allowing them to sign up, get a mailing address and go home collecting from afar. A 1 year residency would be much harder to commit fraud with, requiring proof such as check stubs, rent receipts, tax returns, state issued ID, etc. to qualify.
As for CNC, it draws more people than the old cash system because they are going for the "brass ring", a new high-rise apartment, total benefit package, which is what everyone is promised when they sign up (you're on a "list" for a spot). Until then you get a shelter bed, taking all the beds from the homeless who want no part of this system. You don't have to dismantle CNC to make it work. Just extend the residency requirement, which will slow the incoming to a trickle, and allow those in the system to actually be assisted. And as anyone who works in GA will tell you, people fall off the program all the time. The current glut would fix itself over time.

A one year residency requirement wouldn't affect anyone currently enrolled, only discourage those across the country considering coming here for the easy money. One year on the street is a lot harder to do than 2 weeks.

Posted by JoetheSFRepublican on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

I'm sorry. I wrote my post in a fury, was not clear on a few points:

Both assistance programs, Care-Not-Cash and the regular cash program, can work if the residency requirement were a year rather than 2 weeks.

The cash program failed because it was easy to commit fraud. They only had to prove two weeks residency, then return once a month for an appointment.

Care-Not-Cash has a different problem,it attracts out-of-state people coming here specifically for our new all-inclusive program. The system has swelled, and now it has taken over the shelters system as well. And SRO's are no longer an option for working class people, either, because CNC has taken over a large number of them, too.

As a Republican, I personally would like to see Care-Not-Cash dismantled, I think a cash system is acceptable. As a realist, I'll accept either if they could just fix it by creating a one year residency requirement.

Posted by JoetheSFRepublican on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

Didn't Jane Kim pull this ballot initiative? Is this article moot?

Posted by The Commish on Jul. 27, 2011 @ 9:16 am
yes

we published a blog post on Kim's pull yesterday: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/07/26/kim-removes-homeless-shelter-ref...

this article was published more than a week ago.

Posted by marke on Jul. 27, 2011 @ 9:38 am

Thanks. When I clicked "This Week" earlier this morning, this article popped up so I thought the article came out today. Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by The Commish on Jul. 27, 2011 @ 11:16 am