Saturday, February 27, 2010

Care Not Cash: An "attack on homeless people"?

The Bay Guardian's Tim Redmond this week on Care Not Cash: "When Newsom ran for mayor the first time, he used Care Not Cash---a well-funded attack on homeless people."

Five years ago, Chris Daly had a similar assessment of Care Not Cash: "They declared war on people I care about...When that happens you fight back." (City Hall Watch, Savannah Blackwell, SF Observer, April 21, 2005)

A Chronicle story last week puts the lie to the "progressive" myth that Mayor Newsom and the city are waging a war on homeless people. Turns out that the city is on track to fulfill the Ten Year Plan's goal on homelessness way back in 2004, since it has housed 1,679 of the 3,000 hardcore homeless since Care Not Cash went into effect in the Summer of 2004.

This isn't a surprise to anyone who's been following the issue, since back in 2008 the Controller published a study of Care Not Cash that showed that it was having some success:

Care Not Cash is achieving key goals set out for it in the initiative by:
• Serving the people it was intended to serve.
• Allowing the City to shift money from cash grants to mental health and substance abuse services for those it houses.
• Adding 1,321 affordable units to the City’s housing portfolio for homeless San Franciscans.

Malcolm Gladwell's article on homelessness ("Million-Dollar Murray") in the New Yorker four years ago is still the best account of how and why San Francisco and other cities have been changing their policies on homelessness.

Two years ago the Grand Jury also found that the city's homeless policies were having some success: "Is the 'housing first' strategy working? The answer again is yes, it is working. Projects currently in the pipeline exceed the goal of the Ten-Year Plan for 3,000 supportive housing units."

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At 5:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

By the way, this post should be supplemented with a mention of my favorite city program that deals with homelessness---Homeward Bound, which gives homeless people a bus ticket out of town. According to a story in the SF Examiner last October, the city has bused more than 4,000 homeless people back to where they came from since the program's inception way back in 2005.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Here's a hyperlink to the Examiner story referred to in the above comment.


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