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San Francisco can’t afford another decade of the same failed policies on homelessness. It’s time we commit to tackling homelessness once and for all. As Mayor, I will end street homelessness by 2020.
Ending street homelessness means a dramatic reduction in the number of chronically homeless people in San Francisco, by ensuring that everyone sleeping without shelter on the street or living in a tent will have a bed in a shelter or a navigation center. It means that every district in San Francisco will have a detailed, community-specific strategy in place that ensures homelessness is both immediately addressed, and also prevented whenever possible. Solving homelessness is the job of city government, not of neighborhoods.
Over 7,000 homeless people live on San Francisco’s streets, in our shelters and jails, and in tents and public parks. According to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, over 20,000 people experience homelessness in San Francisco each year. But San Francisco didn’t get here by chance — City Hall has failed us.
As a result, we have streets covered in tent encampments and littered with garbage, human waste, and used needles. We can’t solve this problem by working backwards to clean up our streets first and then house the homeless people living on them later. As long as we allow people to sleep on our sidewalks, we will have garbage and dangerous waste dirtying our streets. Spending $30 million a year to clean up waste and needles is not an acceptable answer to homeless encampments. As Mayor I will be laser-focused on bringing people inside, so that public dollars aren’t wasted on a perpetual cleaning cycle that gets us zero results.
San Francisco needs a Mayor willing to take bold actions, try new and different solutions, and lead regional collaboration to end homelessness. We must finally recognize that we are in the grips of a nationwide opioid epidemic, and that as a state we have made our prisons and jails into little more than warehouses for our mentally ill. This requires strategic thinking far broader than what we’re getting from the people who support the status quo at City Hall.
First, we must tackle the very visible signs of homelessness that are affecting those who live in tents and everyone living and working around them. We need to end the cycle of tent encampments and make our sidewalks safe, healthy environments. We must help those struggling with addiction and mental illness. And we have to get people out of our doorways, driveways, and parks and into shelter or housing.
Second, we must recognize that we can never truly move the needle on homelessness without policies in place that keep people who are housed in their homes. We must protect tenants with rental and legal assistance, and stop unfair evictions that push more people onto the street. And finally, we can and must repair our broken system of supportive services and housing.
I will be releasing my plans to address housing and safe, clean streets soon, but we will never fix those problems without first committing to ending street homelessness once and for all. City Hall can no longer promote failure - it’s time to shake things up and demand results.
End Street Homelessness with Housing-First Solutions
Immediately move at least 1,000 people off the streets and into permanent supportive housing.
The Department of Building Inspection reports that right now, as many as 1,500 Single Room Occupancy units (SROs) remain vacant in SRO hotels around San Francisco. There is no excuse for allowing people to sleep on our streets every night while existing housing units for homeless people sit empty. As State Senator, I fought to preserve and protect local SRO housing stock and track room availability and occupancy. As Mayor, I will immediately commission the City Controller to partner with the Department of Building Inspection to conduct a census that identifies the total number of vacant units, any issues associated with them, and why the units aren’t being leased, so that we can quickly resolve any issues and move to place people in each of those units.
We know that many SRO landlords leave units empty because City Hall isn’t meeting the need for supportive services that help keep formerly homeless tenants safely and reliably housed. Landlords should not have to worry whether a new tenant exiting homelessness will have the social services they need to pay rent or maintain mental and physical stability — this should be a guarantee from City Hall. Existing programs like Pathways to Housing show how wraparound services can help vulnerable tenants stay afloat, yet many landlords who provide SRO units to subsidized formerly homeless tenants don’t have reliable access to any social services. As Mayor, I will work to bring landlords together with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to identify service needs, and deploy Rapid Response Teams to provide those roving services to existing tenants and incentivize new tenants.
Reform our homeless shelter system to increase capacity and improve rates of re-housing.
San Francisco’s shelter system is at max capacity every night, in every season. Despite the often challenging environment traditional shelters provide -- no partners or pets, minimal belongings, and only a cot to sleep on at night but no place to stay during the day -- we still see over 1,000 people fill a waiting list each night. But we don’t need statistics to tell us that we just aren’t meeting our need. Until we have the supportive and affordable housing we need to permanently house everyone in need, we must do everything we can to move people under a roof as quickly as possible to provide relief for our streets, and for those living on them.
I will identify the revenue needed to transform our homeless shelter system to operate more like successful navigation centers, and increase capacity to provide more shelter to more people. Let’s replicate what works. By simulating the successes of Navigation Centers and investing in rehabilitative, intensive wraparound services on-site, we can improve the odds that those coming through our shelters won’t end up back on the street or in jail, but instead will stay on a path to permanent housing.
Move as many people as possible off the streets by quickly expanding our Navigation Center system.
We now have a system that works, but only if we prioritize using it. Navigation Centers get people out of tents and into shelter, by providing a place to sleep, shower, and stay, with intensive services that help get people on their feet again. The City has been far too slow at opening the many additional navigation centers we need to actually move people off our sidewalks -- we can’t afford the status quo of City leaders who say “no” and refuse to do their part to compassionately, comprehensively clear our streets of tents.
Within my first 12 months as Mayor I will lead the charge to open as many navigation enters as possible in districts across the City to get people off the streets, out of the rain, and under a roof. Navigation centers are not a permanent solution, but as long as 3,500 people continue to sleep outside we must take action to relieve our streets and neighborhoods, provide shelter, and kickstart an exit out of homelessness and into housing. As Mayor, I will work with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to see that we return the length of stay from 30 days to 60-90 days, so that we can stop wasting resources by cycling people back to the streets before we’re able to secure an exit to housing. Our number one priority must be getting people out of dangerous situations that impact everyone on our streets.
Take advantage of our Small Site Acquisition program to move more people from the street and into housing.
Rather than wait for new housing to be built, we can make use of existing units to house homeless people now, using San Francisco’s Small Site Acquisition program. By acquiring SRO units from private owners, we can quickly place formerly homeless tenants under a roof, and dramatically reduce the number of people on our streets and in our navigation centers and shelters. As Mayor I will use the Small Site Acquisition program to find and purchase SRO units, establish services through our Pathways to Housing program, and move people from navigation centers and into a supportive housing unit. A housing ladder, beginning with shelter that leads to supportive housing, offers a pathway out of homelessness and eventually to a permanent home. We must also provide job training, employment assistance, and educational support as part of the solution to move individuals toward the goal of self-sufficiency. The ladder then makes room for more formerly homeless individuals to be placed in shelter and supportive services.
Bring all families and children in off the streets
The fact that our City sidewalks are home to families and children is unacceptable. In 2016 nearly 2,100 students in San Francisco were identified as homeless. These are children who are being educated in our schools during the day, yet have no permanent place to call home at night to eat dinner, do homework, or rest. This must change. Not only must we do what we can to assist parents, but we must also focus on the impacts of homelessness on children and offer support services that meet students where they are and lift them up to where they can and should be. As Mayor I will focus relentlessly on accomplishing this, and will work with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to prioritize bringing families and children into our shelters, navigation centers, and stable housing immediately.
Target the Root Causes and Direct Symptoms of Homelessness
Establish a Mental Health Justice Center.
Our treatment of mentally ill homeless people is a national disgrace. Nearly 50% of people in San Francisco County Jail are receiving mental health services, and over 20% are receiving psychotropic drugs. Our county jail is the single largest provider of mental health services in San Francisco. This is wrong and needs to change. We must stop recycling mentally ill people between our jails and our streets. It’s inhumane, it’s expensive, and it ends when I become Mayor.
I will open a Mental Health Justice Center to get people who are having mental health crises off our streets and into shelter and services. Those with mental illness and substance abuse problems need treatment, not punishment. The number of psych beds in our city’s hospitals have been steadily cut year after year. We need to prioritize expanding our mental health services, not cutting them.
A Mental Health Justice Center will serve as a safe, humane place to bring people who are experiencing mental health crises on our sidewalks, that won’t result in their return back to the streets. The Center will serve as a centralized, coordinated system of care that will engage with San Francisco’s many existing care providers and advocates to place people on an appropriate path to stable housing and secure services. We must move away from the status quo of incarcerating our city’s mentally ill population. The Mental Health Justice Center will catch people who have fallen through the cracks and find long-term comprehensive care solutions that will benefit all San Franciscans.
Create Universal Mental Health Care For All.
We cannot end street homelessness without also addressing the mental health crises happening on our streets. As Mayor, I will launch the effort to create universal access to mental health care so we can finally provide services to keep those who are struggling with illness or addiction off our streets. The first step is to ensure that our city is compliant with The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
If San Francisco’s supply of psychiatric beds isn’t meeting the demand, we can and must do more to expand the system. Mental health policy experts recommend supplying 50 in-patient psychiatric beds for every 100,000 residents in the total population. In San Francisco, that would add up to to over 430 beds. And yet, a 2016 policy analyst report showed that San Francisco only offers 163 beds. Even with the recent addition of 54 beds at St. Mary’s Hospital, we have less than half the supply of beds needed to serve our most vulnerable mentally ill residents. That just won’t cut it.
As Mayor, I will be committed to the creation of a universal mental health care program in our city so that all San Franciscans – regardless of their income, housing, or immigration status – can access quality mental health services. Healthy San Francisco, signed into law in 2007, provides access to health care for residents, but its use is impeded by bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of resources needed to provide comprehensive mental health services. When I am in City Hall, I will add 200 in-patient mental health beds, more than doubling our current supply, so that we can provide immediate shelter and services to those who need it most. In addition, I will establish a robust psychiatric street outreach team that can provide on-demand mental health services for people struggling on our streets.
Create 15,000 units of affordable, workforce, and permanent supportive housing to move people off our streets and under a permanent roof.
Homelessness is a housing problem. Nearly 50% of San Francisco’s homeless population says they lost their housing because they could not afford rent. As a Supervisor, I authored San Francisco’s first inclusionary housing law which requires that private, for-profit developers include a minimum amount of housing that is affordable to working and low-income residents in the production of 10 or more market-rate units. We can’t expect to solve our homelessness crisis if we don’t solve our housing crisis. As Mayor, I will be laser-focused on creating 15,000 units of affordable, workforce, and permanent supportive housing over the next ten years.
Protect at-risk tenants to keep people in their home.
70% of San Franciscans living on the street were living under a roof in San Francisco before they became homeless. We must be doing much more to prevent unfair evictions and keep people in their homes. As State Senator I took on the Ellis Act, successfully exempting SROs and protecting the wholesale eviction of 12,000 of our most vulnerably housed residents, becoming the only legislator in California to ever amend the Ellis Act. As Mayor, I will fight to prevent displacement and homelessness with every tool at my disposal. In order to do that, I’m prepared to take speculators to court for abusing the Ellis Act to evict tenants. It’s time we finally stop speculators from destroying our communities and worsening our housing crisis.
We must also provide rental assistance and subsidies to help people hang on to their housing. San Francisco saves more money by keeping people housed rather than letting people fall through the cracks and wind up on the street. As Mayor I will prioritize funding strong rental assistance programs, as well as supporting the full implementation of the Right to Counsel for those facing evictions, should it pass on the June ballot.
Strengthen Tools that Ensure Success
Create new tools to hold city government accountable to meeting district-specific criteria and benchmarks.
City Hall needs to be held accountable to making real, measurable progress on homelessness. I will enforce data-driven solutions that are trackable and help to hold my office accountable to its promise to end street homelessness by 2020. To do that, I will work with the Office of the Controller and other City departments to create a homelessness dashboard on the SF.gov website, so that all residents are able to track results in real time across the City. I will also work with the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to ensure our Online Navigation and Entry System is as robust and well-resourced as possible. If our goal is to move people off the street and under a permanent roof, we need to know where they are on their path to housing and what they need to get there.
Fix our broken system of supportive services.
Majority of those living on our streets have little to no financial assistance to meet their basic needs or obtain life-saving services. Only one-third of homeless San Franciscans are receiving food stamps, and only one-fourth of people receive General Assistance. We can’t expect that homeless individuals will stabilize their lives and find secure housing without providing them the resources to do so.
As Mayor, I will work with state and federal agencies in order to provide homeless individuals with General Assistance and create a system that works. We must ensure all homeless individuals who enter or exist within San Francisco’s ONE System are automatically scheduled for recurring check-ins to see that they’re receiving their due social service benefits. At-risk individuals should be quickly connected to assistance programs that get them on a path to housing, and receive services tailored to their unique needs that will help them to stay on their feet and under a roof.
But getting to service providers and making regular appointments shouldn’t be left to chance. Let’s increase the impact our resources can have on lifting up those experiencing homelessness, by making sure people actually get where they need to go. As Mayor I will work with our city’s service providers and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to make sure we have a system that sets people up for success by assisting individuals to and from appointments whenever needed. We will waste more precious dollars if we continue to promote a system that fails.
Secure Funding for Long-term Solutions
Do a top-to-bottom audit of homeless dollars to stop and prevent waste.
San Francisco spends approximately $300 million per year on addressing homelessness -- we’re spending way too much money with little results to show for it. Clearly, the status quo isn’t working. As Mayor, I will conduct a top-to-bottom re-evaluation of where our money is going, where it’s being wasted, where it’s working, and where we need to prioritize funding that actually works to solve problems. I will push for more proactive solutions, stop waste on ineffective programs and tools, and redirect funding to ensure we’re getting the most results possible to maximize public dollars.
Pass a comprehensive regional housing and homelessness bond measure.
In 2016, Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2-billion bond measure to build housing for the chronically homeless. Bay Area cities should follow this model. As Mayor, I will work with our regional partners to create a Bay Area housing bond measure that will immediately get supportive housing projects in the pipeline.
Regional funding would allow San Francisco to work across city borders to invest in long-term, regional housing solutions that actually reduce homelessness across the Bay Area. Additionally, creating revenue for long-term solutions will save local governments money that would otherwise be spent on perpetual temporary solutions — such as emergency medical and police services. We must focus on increasing the supply of housing regionally, and not only in our city which has borne the brunt of the Bay Area’s housing crisis.
Make use of the $100 million dollars I secured as State Senator to create 400 units of permanent supportive housing.
As a result of my work on Proposition 63, I was able to secure $100 million for San Francisco to fund desperately-needed housing for mentally ill homeless individuals. This is funding that I’ve already fought for and won, and as Mayor I’ll make sure we’re putting it to good use. I will work quickly to put these funds into action and immediately build 400 units of permanent supportive housing for the most vulnerable on our streets.
Leverage statewide connections to fund homeless resources
My greatest legislative accomplishments as a Supervisor, Assemblymember, and State Senator, came when we reached across the aisle to build consensus and bring people together to get the job done. As Mayor, I will leverage my experience and connections in Sacramento as a 14-year legislator, working hand-in-hand with state and federal officials as well as private stakeholders to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to San Francisco to fund solutions that will end street homelessness.
San Franciscans are rightfully outraged that filthy streets and dangerous sidewalks have become the status quo. Our residents, visitors, and small business owners deserve clean and safe streets regardless of what neighborhood they live in. I’m committed to ensuring our neighborhoods get clean and stay clean. But until we clear our sidewalks of tent encampments and end street homelessness, we’re just spinning in circles without any real progress. In order to address the symptom, we must tackle the root cause by moving those living on our sidewalks under a roof. We can’t expect to solve a problem without investing in sustainable solutions. I am the only candidate for Mayor with a comprehensive plan to end street homelessness by 2020, which will make it possible to truly keep our streets clean. As Mayor, I will work tirelessly to make our neighborhoods something we can be proud of again.
Boots on the ground
Create same day on-demand clean up service.
San Francisco’s streets have been called “dirtier than slums in some developing countries.” A city as prosperous as ours has the resources to change the status quo of filthy streets — it’s simply a matter of prioritization. It’s time we put an end to the new normal of dirty sidewalks covered in unsanitary and dangerous waste.
As Mayor, I will coordinate a same day, on-demand clean-up service through 311 and the Department of Public Works so that any resident or visitor in San Francisco can easily request services from a mobile or online portal and receive service that day. I will fund the expansion of street and sidewalk clean-up teams to immediately respond to reports of unsanitary conditions or illegal dumping.
Double street cleaning in problematic areas.
In recent years, our homelessness crisis and tragic opioid epidemic have exacerbated the amount of trash, syringes, and other dangerous debris that litters our sidewalks and streets. As Mayor, I will direct the Department of Public Works to provide more frequent, targeted street cleaning in the neighborhoods where it is needed most to ensure that San Francisco is a place where all residents are safe from hazardous and unsightly waste.
Hire additional sanitation workers.
The Department of Public Works cleans 25,000 tons of trash from our streets every year. Yet many streets and sidewalks still don’t feel clean. We will work to enhance our street cleaning schedule, doubling down on the most problematic zones. We will hire and train more sanitation workers to patrol high-traffic areas and quickly respond to 311 clean-up requests. With more boots on the ground picking up trash and powerwashing our sidewalks, we will improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and business corridors.
Add hundreds of new “smart” trash cans.
We need to make it easier for people to keep their communities clean. I will distribute hundreds of new trash cans throughout San Francisco, focusing specifically on the areas that need it most — such as public parks, playgrounds, and busy pedestrian zones. We cannot let our public areas get trashed simply because there’s no room left in the garbage bins. As Mayor, I will make it easy for people to properly dispose of trash by increasing the number of trash, recycling, and compost bins throughout the city. This means replacing trash cans that make disposal and pick-up difficult, and replacing them with new, efficient, and spacious trash cans. I also support investing in additional environmentally friendly, “smart” trash cans that can hold significantly more litter, and that alert city staff members when nearly full.
Expand successful clean-up pilot programs across the city.
I will expand on a current multi-department clean-up effort known as the Civic Center Health and Cleanliness Pilot Program. The program is a partnership between the City Administrator, and the Departments of Public Works, Public Health, SFPD, and SFFD, bringing a multifaceted approach to cleaning 100 city blocks within the Civic Center area. Strong interdepartmental communication means that each department has a clearly defined objective, as well as an expectation to support the mission of the other departments. The resultant program is a unified team that could alert the police to illegal drug activity, elicit a quick response in the case of an overdose or other medical emergency, recommend social services, or request a Public Works team to clean up street litter.
Although the pilot project has only launched in Civic Center, it has already resulted in thousands of pounds of collected trash, as well as a visibly improved quality-of-life in the neighborhood. This is the kind of innovative, collaborative solution I will replicate throughout the City to make our communities cleaner and safer. As Mayor, I will expand the Civic Center Health and Cleanliness Pilot Program to other high-traffic neighborhoods that could similarly benefit from this collaborative model.
Treat Issues of Hygiene with Sensitivity and Proactivity
Expand “Pit Stop” availability.
We need to provide safe hygiene locations with toilets and hot showers, especially in areas that see greater numbers of homeless individuals living or gathering. We can start by increasing the number of “Pit Stop” locations, or public bathrooms staffed by paid attendants who ensure they remain safe and accessible to the public, and include pet waste bags and used-needle receptacles. San Francisco’s Pit Stop program has become a national model; Miami, Denver, Sacramento, and Los Angeles adopted similar programs following San Francisco’s successful implementation. Our city must expand other similarly innovative programs in order to effectively address public safety and quality-of-life issues.
As Mayor, I will bring additional Pit Stop facilities to high-traffic neighborhoods where they’re needed most and will make them available for use 16 hours a day. All San Franciscans deserve the dignity of having access to clean, safe bathrooms. Furthermore, by expanding this program, our streets will be cleaner and more welcoming for all.
Pit Stop staffing job posts will also open more employment opportunities for San Franciscans. The Department of Public Works, which runs the Pit Stop program, has successfully partnered with Hunters Point Family, a workforce development nonprofit, to assist in hiring bathroom attendants, giving priority to people who have faced barriers to employment. We need to expand this partnership and offer employment opportunities to any individual who is committed to improving our communities.
Launch pilot program to hire homeless individuals to clean streets
In a city as wealthy as ours, it’s heartbreaking and unacceptable to see people sleeping and panhandling on our streets. We’ve talked a good talk — but it’s time to take action once and for all. In coordination with my robust plan to end street homelessness by 2020, I am committed to implementing innovative strategies that will help lift people experiencing homelessness out of poverty, by providing a stable income to help create an exit from the streets. In cities like San Diego, Albuquerque, and Denver, we’ve seen the success of programs that hire those living on the streets to clean the streets. Denver, which launched their program in 2016, hired 331 homeless individuals in its first year, and saw nearly 40% of those people go on to find full-time, stable employment.
As Mayor, I will not shy away from investing in creative solutions to solve our biggest challenges. In my first year in office, I will coordinate City departments to launch a pilot program to offer employment opportunities to our homeless residents. Using other cities’ success as a blueprint for our plan, we will implement a similar program, beginning with a pilot to test its efficacy and partnering with community-based organizations to ensure the workforce development component is supporting the right people in the right ways. The ultimate goal of the program will be to encourage individuals to accept the city’s housing and health services, and transition on to higher paying jobs.
Leverage Technology to Ensure Safe, Clean Public Spaces
Track cleanliness street-by-street
At this point, when our city’s trash problem is this out of hand, we must tackle our clean-up street-by-street. As Mayor I will implement best practices, like those being pursued in Los Angeles, where technology is used to conduct regular cleanliness assessments across the city, allowing residents to use an interactive map to file service requests and track progress. I will work with our City departments, community leaders, and tech and nonprofit partners to implement a similar street-by-street mapping tool that can be used by residents to track requests, as well as a portal to sync governmental departments on the back-end. We must empower every San Franciscan to not only report service needs, but also to track progress and hold city leaders accountable. With increased transparency, everyone from the Mayor’s office to your neighborhood café owner can hold our city departments accountable and ensure we’re being as responsive as possible, putting our tax-dollars to work for real results.
Upgrade our 311 mobile app and website.
San Francisco is the epicenter of modern innovation -- we must leverage the power of technology to help our residents and improve our neighborhoods. I will continue to invest in technology that supports and strengthens 311 and other interdepartmental collaboration, as well as tools that deliver City services as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The City’s 311 customer service hotline was started in 2007 as an easy way for residents and visitors to report problems or request a city service. In the 10+ years since its inception, 311 has expanded significantly from phone-only to online communication — and now to a mobile app. We can still improve this and similar services to increase their effectiveness and efficiency. First, we need to make the 311 website and app more user-friendly and accessible, including for people who are differently abled or speak languages other than English. I will work with the Department of Technology to upgrade the service, prioritizing usability and streamlining interdepartmental communication. I will also work to build awareness about 311’s services and tools through a public information campaign. With more people responding to service needs, we will all be better able to make our city cleaner and safer.
Implement smart technologies for a cleaner city.
In order to offer smart, efficient city services, City Hall must ensure that each of our departments appropriately collaborates and communicates with one another. I will prioritize technological solutions that will streamline bureaucratic collaboration, such as implementing trash cans that alert garbage collectors when they’re full or a data aggregator that updates street sweeping schedules in real time based on the concentration of service requests. We must invest in innovative tools that save the city time and money and improve San Franciscans’ quality of life. In addition to technology, I will invest in local non-profit partners to expand public offerings and fill in the gaps where traditional public services fall short.
We cannot continue to accept the status quo in San Francisco. It’s time for our leaders to think outside the box and work collaboratively to solve our city’s biggest challenges.
San Franciscans deserve to live and work in a city that is affordable, clean, and safe. I have introduced plans to address homelessness, clean our streets, and now -- to keep our communities safe. I will focus relentlessly on making our neighborhoods safe by working with state and local leaders to address issues from gun violence to car break-ins. We cannot allow the status quo of violent crime and property crime to continue.
Reduce Property Crime
Fight recurring crime with a centralized property crime director.
I will establish a centralized director to manage property crime prevention and response efforts in coordination with SFPD, the District Attorney, and community stakeholders. The director’s first priority will be to oversee the full implementation of the SFPD Property Crimes Unit pilot program in every district police station.
Cracking down on car break-ins and enforcing consequences.
According to SFPD crime data, car break-ins increased by 25% from 2016 to 2017 alone, and they’ve nearly tripled since 2012. This means thousands of San Franciscans — on average, 85 people per day — are forced to spend money and time repairing car windows and replacing stolen property. City leadership has allowed this uptick in property crimes to reach epidemic levels, and now San Franciscans are paying the price.
Every victim of a car break-in should have the opportunity to have their case investigated. Currently, that isn’t happening. When a car break-in occurs, SFPD needs to have the tools and resources at their disposal to respond swiftly and diligently. Instead, victims of car break-ins who report a crime to SFPD are directed to file an online police report. Clearly, this response is not meeting the needs of our neighborhoods. As we work to better prevent these crimes from happening, we must do everything we can to catch perpetrators and enforce consequences -- this will help to reduce crime rates by showing repeat offenders that we’re serious about stopping them. If we know that 70% of those committing car break-ins are repeat offenders, working to solve crimes and catch perpetrators is the best shot we have at curbing this epidemic.
Every SFPD patrol car should have a fingerprint kit to use at crime scenes when a break-in is reported. Cities like Los Angeles are already doing this. As Mayor I will work with SFPD to encourage the implementation of this policy. Even a low rate of 1-2% matches could result in the apprehension of hundreds of offenders, bringing crime rates down and providing some much-needed relief to San Franciscans.
Increase police foot patrols and community policing.
Our communities are safest when police officers have a strong relationship with the neighbors they serve. I will prioritize increasing SFPD’s foot patrol and urge the Department to recommit to the community policing practices that strengthen cooperation between police and the neighborhoods they patrol. When officers walk foot beats, get to know neighbors, and build trust, our communities are safer.
Protect citizens with car break-in public information campaigns.
The biggest reduction in property crime occurs when there’s nothing for a criminal to steal. I will enhance the SFPD’s Park Safe Public information campaign to better inform tourists and residents of the necessity to leave nothing in their vehicle.
In collaboration with Public Works, Community Benefit Districts, and other neighborhood advocates, I will also work to post signs warning of the real threat of car break-ins, urging drivers to not leave any valuables in their car.
Proactively Combat Violence
Strengthen gun buy-back programs to take guns off our streets.
It is imperative that we get weapons off our streets, not add more. I’ve been a lifelong advocate for tougher gun laws, championing the effort get illegal guns off San Francisco’s streets, and supporting the passage of Proposition 63 which gave California the toughest gun laws in the nation. As mayor, I will oppose the use of tasers by our police officers — just as I did in 2005 as an Assemblyman when I authored legislation limiting the use of tasers.
San Francisco and other nearby cities have been bastions of successful, creative programs to eliminate gun violence. One successful program is the annual gun buy-back program. After last year’s event, reports showed the buy-back removed 280 firearms from our streets. I will expand on this program, offering it twice per year in different parts of the city, and will work with community organizations that can help build awareness of the program.
Use data to identify property crime hotspots and drive smart solutions.
We need to update our crime logging system by investing in a digital database in order to identify property crime hotspots, find crime patterns, and drive smart solutions. This will not only make the department’s vast amount of crime data easier to decipher, but will also allow City law enforcement agencies to proactively combat rising crime trends with efficient solutions. Half of the dilemma is not knowing where and when crimes are happening the most -- improving our ability to pinpoint that data will increase our chances of successfully catching perpetrators and preventing future crimes.
Expand violence de-escalation training for SFPD.
Following tragic incidents of officer-involved shootings, the SFPD instituted de-escalation training. The training emphasizes techniques that will help officers de-escalate potentially violent situations instead of resorting to deadly force. Just months after the program began, the department saw a decrease in use-of-force. I will work with the SFPD to expand this de-escalation training, and explore additional, innovative techniques to limit use-of-force.
For decades, the Bay Area’s housing supply has not met its demand. When it comes to housing in San Francisco, we need to think big. As Mayor, I will work to create, build and refurbish 5,000 low-income, workforce, and supportive housing units annually. It’s time to think bigger and think out of the box - that means thinking regionally, and even statewide.
Building Dramatically More Housing
Lead a regional and statewide effort to address affordability and homelessness, including passing a comprehensive regional bond measure.
In my plan to end street homelessness by 2020, I discussed the need for housing-first solutions to get people off the streets and into permanent, supportive housing. To get 3,500 unsheltered people off the streets and another 3,500 people from shelters into permanent housing, we must think regionally about a comprehensive housing solution. As Mayor, I will draft a comprehensive regional housing and homelessness bond measure that calls upon all Bay Area cities and counties to do their part in addressing this solution. We cannot continue the status quo of passing piecemeal laws and fragmented funding measures that barely graze the surface of this massive challenge. Real leadership means collaborative solutions that will spark real change.
I will call upon my fellow Bay Area elected officials to join forces and draft a regional housing measure to build affordable housing, stop displacement, and address homelessness. In November 2016, Alameda County voters overwhelmingly supported a $600 million affordable housing bond, passing with 80% of the vote. I will follow their lead to pass a comprehensive regional housing and homelessness bond that will tackle the region’s housing and affordability crisis broadly.
Require higher affordable housing mandates for projects benefiting from public investment.
As a Supervisor, I authored San Francisco’s first inclusionary housing law which requires private, for-profit developers to include a minimum number of affordable housing in developments of 10 or more market-rate units. This inclusionary housing has become a national model, securing over 5,000 units of additional housing units that are affordable for working and low-income San Franciscans. And yet, our supply of affordable housing remains far below what’s needed. A recent report from the Office of the Controller estimated that the inclusionary housing requirements will produce nearly 6,000 units of affordable housing by 2031. While that’s good progress, it’s not nearly enough. San Franciscans want their leaders to step up and take bold action to address affordability.
When development projects net greater profit from the public investments they receive, such as building on transit corridors or city-owned parcels, we must hold those developers accountable to build greater levels of affordability. We must be sure that development projects bring value back to San Francisco when we invest in those projects as a City. As Mayor I will work with City leaders and stakeholders to pursue requirement of higher affordable housing mandates for projects benefiting from public investment.
Preserve existing housing and stop displacement
Strengthen our Small Sites Acquisition program to permanently protect affordable housing.
To make our city truly affordable and equitable, we must work on behalf of San Franciscans who already live in affordable housing to protect their homes and prevent displacement by stopping the epidemic of unlawful evictions. As Mayor, I will make use of San Francisco’s Small Sites Acquisition program, started by Mayor Ed Lee, to find and purchase hundreds of at-risk affordable housing rental units to make them permanently affordable. I will work collaboratively with neighborhood-based organizations like the Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) and the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) to identify affordable housing properties that qualify for the Small Sites Acquisition program and are at-risk of being displaced.
We can–and we must–fight to keep San Francisco a place where working and low-income families can afford to live. This also means finding the funding to expand our Small Sites program so that we can make full use of its benefits. As Mayor I will be laser-focused on identifying possible funding streams to strengthen Small Sites and increase our existing affordable housing stock.
Protect at-risk tenants from eviction and take Ellis Act speculators to court.
Researchers at UC Berkeley Urban Displacement Project have found that certain key indicators can accurately predict which neighborhoods and families are most at risk of displacement. San Francisco’s leaders need to do better to protect tenants from eviction, by providing the legal and rental assistance they need to keep them safely housed, or we will simply continue the cycle of homelessness. We know that 70% of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco were living under a roof here before they became homeless. I am proud to support Proposition F on this June’s ballot, and will fight tirelessly to ensure greater funding of rental assistance programs that keep tenants in their homes.
I became the only legislator in the state to amend the Ellis Act as State Senator, when I successfully exempted SROs from Ellis Act evictions and protected the wholesale eviction of 12,000 of our most vulnerably housed residents. As Mayor, I will be relentless in the fight against speculators, and pledge to take those abusing the Ellis Act to court for wrongfully evicting tenants.
Create Local Hire incentives to mitigate displacement by employing San Francisco residents.
We must do more to keep our working families in stable jobs so they can afford to live in the communities where they work. San Francisco has seen great success in the Local Hire initiative started nearly 10 years ago, which requires certain building trades to employ local residents for at least 30% of hourly jobs. As Mayor, I will work to expand the Local Hire program and establish incentives for businesses, public agencies, and other employers to hire San Franciscans. I will also direct city departments to partner with workforce development programs to hire individuals who may be underemployed or face barriers to employment, expanding on successful partnerships like the Department of Public Works’ employment partnership with the nonprofit Hunters Point Family to fill jobs with the “Pit Stop” program.
Preserve neighborhood character by investing in cultural districts and community-based organizations.
San Francisco’s neighborhoods are inextricably linked to our rich cultural history. From the Mission to Chinatown to the Bayview, our neighborhoods have provided refuge and shelter to immigrants and minority communities, made up of families and small businesses spanning generations of roots across our city. But the heightened cost of living has threatened these cultural epicenters and displaced far too many of our neighbors.
If we continue down this path, we will lose the character that makes this city what it is. As Mayor, I will invest in the community-based organizations and cultural districts that preserve the character of our neighborhoods and keep populations at risk of displacement securely in their homes. I will invest in Small Site Acquisition programs run by organizations such as the Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) and the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), And finally, I will invest in existing cultural districts, including SoMa Pilipinas and Calle 24 in the Mission, and I will work to create new cultural districts with protections in place for our many additional communities in need.
When our teachers can no longer afford to live in the communities where they work, and families are leaving San Francisco searching for a place to raise their children, City Hall has failed our neighborhoods. We must act urgently to address the affordable housing crisis that's squeezing families and teachers out of our City. As Mayor, I will expand upon my successful legislative record fighting for our educators, building affordable housing, and supporting healthy families to keep San Francisco a place where working people and families can afford to live.
Increase the number of bachelor’s degrees from our San Francisco Unified School District graduates
Lead a regional and statewide effort to address affordability and homelessness, including passing a comprehensive regional bond measure.
California is predicted to be short 1 million college graduates by 2030, which will have widespread effects on our economy and workforce for decades to come. If we want to lift more of our residents into the middle class, we need to make dramatic improvements to our college completion rates — and this means making dramatic changes to the barriers that students face.
As Chair of the California Senate Budget Committee, I secured $120 million in stabilization funding to save City College when it was in the depths of the accreditation crisis so that we could live to see Free City become a reality for San Franciscans. I also created a pathway to higher education and stable living-wage jobs for students experiencing homelessness by waiving the fee for high school proficiency exams for homeless youth. Now it’s time to tackle another critical challenge: making sure more students graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
Using the Long Beach Promise as a blueprint for success, I will renew the San Francisco Promise to ensure that all San Francisco students are set up for academic excellence by increasing access to and streamlining the funding structures for school resources, academic counseling, and after-school programs, essentially giving a boost to college-going activities for all students but with particular emphasis in those who historically do not attend at the rates we would like them to – our African American, Latinx, and Pacific Islander students.
As Mayor, I want to take Free City a step further, by ensuring that all City College graduates who complete their Associate’s degree will have a guaranteed, cost-free spot at San Francisco State University.
Strengthen our communities by investing in affordable housing for teachers
San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has a problem attracting and retaining teachers, and it’s no wonder why. The average monthly rent in San Francisco is about 78% of the average teacher salary. Simply put, our teachers cannot afford to live where they work. Each year, our City loses about 500 teachers — about 12.5% of its entire teaching staff — due to the soaring cost of housing. This is one of the highest attrition rates in the country.
As State Senator, I authored legislation to make it possible for SFUSD to build affordable housing for teachers on surplus school property. Because of this legislation, San Francisco is finally actualizing its dream of building the first affordable housing units for teachers at the Francis Scott Key Annex.
As Mayor, I will work with SFUSD to prioritize funding for affordable housing for our teachers, including our Early Childcare providers, so that San Francisco no longer loses vital members of our communities. When our teachers can no longer afford to live in the communities where they work, and families are leaving San Francisco searching for a place to raise their children, City Hall has failed our neighborhoods.
Ensure our children can access comprehensive, inclusive curriculum
School curriculums need to teach acceptance and understanding to our young people, particularly as a means to protect them from harassment at school. San Francisco can be a leader on inclusive, anti-bullying initiatives — but we need to ensure that programs are set up for sustained success. Additionally, 74% of our San Francisco Unified School District students are students of color. In 2017, San Francisco Unified School District's commissioners passed a resolution to pilot an ethnic studies course in a select group of five high schools. Analysis conducted by Stanford University showed the pilot courses boosted students' GPA and attendance in significant ways.
As State Senator, I authored the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education (FAIR) Act, which was signed into law in 2011. It amends California Education Code to include societal contributions from people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community in history and social studies curriculum.
As Mayor, I will work with school board members, teachers, administrators, parents, the Youth Commission, and youth-serving nonprofits in order to certify that our curriculums are appropriately preparing students to appreciate different perspectives, life experiences, and cultural histories. Additionally, I will ensure that our communities support our schools’ inclusive agendas through robust after-school, mental health, and safety programs. These would include restorative justice practices to support our most vulnerable students.
Establish Universal Early Childcare Education by passing Proposition C
From the time children are in the womb to age 5, these are the most critical developmental years of their lives. We know that when we prioritize the education of our youngest children through early childcare and enrichment programs, those students are much more likely to be successful throughout K-12 and college and go on to gain employment, keep healthy and stable families, and to prioritize their own children’s education.
Despite our fundamental understanding of the far-reaching benefits of a quality early childcare experience, it’s not universal in California — and only around 13% of California’s low-income kids are enrolled in quality preschool programs. I fully support Proposition C, in favor of authorizing an additional tax on commercial properties to fund childcare and early education programs. We must actively work towards making preschool available to every child.
Actively support after-school and summer programs
Education doesn’t stop when the school day is over. We know that learning losses over the summer and after school disproportionately affect low-income students. But participation in after-school and summer learning programs could mitigate learning loss and even produce achievement gains. It’s time to make a longer term, permanent commitment to making sure that all kids have equal access to extracurricular opportunities.
There is a vital ally helping more San Francisco students reach graduation day: the city’s constellation of community-based organizations. But we need to do more to ensure these organizations are integrated throughout the school system. San Francisco can transform its public education system into one that proactively fights against achievement gaps through supportive, extracurricular solutions.
As a member of the Board of Supervisors and as State Senator, I worked to retain funding for the Summer Youth Employment and Training Program — and to expand the program, when possible.
As Mayor, I will ensure that our City continues to invest heavily in public-private partnerships so that our most vulnerable students aren’t falling behind. By expanding on public programs that already work — such as the San Francisco Recreation and Parks after school program — and partnering with other nonprofit and private organizations, our City can improve the odds that at-risk students will stay on a path to academic success.
Combat chronic truancy with compassion
In 2015, two-thirds of San Francisco Unified School Districts’ high schools reported that an average of 11 percent of all students were chronically absent. For African American students, that statistic is double. Over the past several decades, a college degree has become the single most important ticket out of poverty and into opportunity. But we also know that kids who are chronically absent from school are much more likely to drop out later. And without a high school diploma, students have a seven times greater likelihood of finding their way into our criminal justice system.
As Mayor, I will work with community-based organizations, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, SFUSD, and the office of Housing and Community Development to proactively combat the issue of chronic truancy to ensure that our students are attending school every day. First, we need to gather more data on truancy in SFUSD to help implement district-specific prevention strategies to focus on change. Additionally, we need to work with school administrations to develop public awareness campaigns to educate both parents and students about the ramifications of missing class on a regular basis. Dropping truancy rates means making a dent in the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as growing the middle class.
Protect public education from Trump/DeVos
While Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos try to privatize education, we need leaders who will always put public education first. They have made it clear that they will take any opportunity to privatize our public education system through private school vouchers and other sneaky strategies veiled as “school choice.”
The Mayor of San Francisco has a renewed duty to preserve California’s ban on school vouchers. As Mayor I will defend our ban on private school vouchers, and ensure our public schools remain our top priority. I will also work with other California Mayors to encourage the governor and federal administration to protect and increase funding for San Francisco's public schools. San Francisco relies on federal grants to fund after school programs, special education, and free and reduced school lunch.
Expand youth access to mental health treatment
Studies show that children who experience trauma have a significantly greater likelihood of chronic disease, mental illness, and experiencing or inflicting violence. We must offer support and quality mental health services so students who experience trauma, such as domestic violence, bullying, or housing insecurity, have a safe place to turn. By offering school-based care, we can tackle the root causes of truancy, school drop-outs, and violence.
As a State Senator, I authored a bill to remove the requirement that at-risk youth establish parental consent for mental health counseling, allowing students to seek immediate care if they are facing substance abuse, violence, or depression. We must continue to remove barriers to accessing mental health care for San Francisco’s students.
I have spent my life in public service working to make schools safe for all kids, and as San Francisco Mayor, I will continue advocating for anti-bullying programs and school-based mental health care.
In my plan to end street homelessness by 2020, I introduced the idea of Universal Mental Health Care for all San Franciscans, which would allow any resident to access quality mental health services, regardless of their income, housing, or immigration status. I want the same mental health access for every child in SFUSD. As Mayor, I will ensure that every SFUSD school is equipped with a qualified mental health counselor who can offer students a safe, reliable support system regardless of what they experience outside of school.
Invest in vocational training and local hiring for a changing economy
Tech is one of the fastest growing sectors in San Francisco’s economy — and as such, it should also be considered and promoted as a new path to the middle class. By using successful models like New York City’s Tech Talent Pipeline, our city can deliver training and education opportunities to equip San Franciscans with the necessary skills to excel in 21st century jobs. Creating quality jobs for San Franciscans and quality talent for the City’s businesses is essential to a thriving 21st century economy. We need to be proactive about investing in specialized, technical workforce programs, as well as coordinating with industry and education partners to train and hire a new generation of highly prepared tech professionals.
As Mayor, I will work with employers and educators in San Francisco and across the Bay Area to build a strong base of workers who are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. City College of San Francisco is one of our greatest resources to help close the alarming gap between the skills that companies need in today’s economy and the skills that a large segment of San Franciscans possess. I will continue working with San Francisco City College and its Trustees, and will expand the offering of certificates and also work with and support them in removing barriers to entry and completion.