November ballot measure to address homelessness

Supporters of a campaign seeking solutions to San Francisco’s homelessness problem celebrated Tuesday after learning they collected more than twice the number of signatures needed to place a measure on the November ballot.

During a rally Tuesday afternoon outside of City Hall, supporters of the Our City, Our Home measure turned in 28,000 signatures to The City’s Department of Elections, or about 18,000 more than needed.

Samantha Lew, one of the campaign’s organizers, said in a statement:

“San Francisco is facing a major housing crisis, with thousands losing their homes each year. San Francisco is better than that. This measure will not only transform the streets of San Francisco but the lives of those who are forced to live on them.”

The Our City, Our Home measure aims to raise about $300 million from an average 0.5 percent gross receipts tax on business revenue in excess of $50 million annually. The money would be used to fund programs to provide current and former homeless residents with permanent housing, shelter, mental health care and treatment services.

The money would also be used to provide more bathrooms and sanitation centers throughout the city, supporters said.

It would also help stop some evictions.

Brian Basinger, executive director of the Q Foundation, said:

“This initiative prevents homelessness by halting all preventable evictions. When a senior loses their spouse, or someone loses a job, rental assistance ensures that they do not also lose their long-term rent-controlled housing.”

The Q Foundation seeks to help LGBTQ residents with housing.

Supporters of Our City, Our Home said it could protect about 7,000 San Francisco residents from losing their homes and would help more than 4,000 currently homeless people get off the streets.

The measure is being backed by organizations such as GLIDE, Community Housing Partnership, Q Foundation, Dolores Street Community Services, Larkin Street, Hospitality House, Coalition on Homelessness, Homeless Prenatal and SF AIDS Foundation, among others.