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Community Facility Commission
M I N U T E S
THURSDAY, JULY 11, 2002
1800 Oakdale Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94124
I. Call to Order
Commission President Millard Larkin called the Thursday, July 11, 2002 meeting to order at 6:15 p.m. in the Alex L. Pitcher Community Room at 1800 Oakdale Avenue.
Commissioner Larkin welcomed everyone and explained that one of the Commission's judiciary responsibilities is making sure they represent the youth and citizens of the Bayview Hunters Point Community. The Sunshine Ordinance was read aloud.
III. Roll Call
Present: Commissioner Bobbrie Brown
Commissioner Heidi Hardin
Commissioner Millard Larkin II
Commissioner Malik Looper
Commissioner Kim Nguyen
Not Present: Commissioner Enola Maxwell
Commissioner Atiliai Tofaeono (excused)
Staff Present: Robert Bryan, Deputy City Attorney; Joseph Tham, PUC Department of Real Estate; Toye Moses, Executive Director; Liz Palega, SECF Commission Secretary
IV. Approval of Minutes
Commissioner Looper moved and Commissioner Brown seconded to accept the minutes of Wednesday, June 26th. Motion passed to accept minutes as printed, without changes.
V. Public Comments
Larkin opened the floor for public comments and noted that "Members of the public may address the Commission on matters under the jurisdiction of the Commission that may not appear on the agenda". (Speaker cards were made available) No public comments were made.
Dr. Moses announced that letters of invitation were sent to the following:
- Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
- Dr. Arlene Ackerman, Superintendent of School District
- Mr. Gaylon Logan, Executive Director of Infusion One
- Ms. Michele Meeker, RN to discuss "Hypothermia Treatment Research"
a) Supervisor Gavin Newsom addressed the issue of "Homeless Reform in San Francisco". Every year the death rates of homeless people on the streets of San Francisco increases, e.g. in 1996 (154 deaths); 1998 (157 deaths); 1999 (160 deaths); and 2000 (180-183 deaths). Approximately 2,000 people have died on the streets in the past 15 years. There are more people on the streets, in shelters, homeless or panhandling in San Francisco than any other major city in the nation.
Supervisor Newsom was outraged about the homelessness in the city--it is a disgrace. Every major city has severe homeless problems. Instead of blaming the federal, state governments and HUD, cities across the nation are doing something about it--there is a difference in attitude. Other cities have developed an attitude of engaging and actually assisting people to get off the streets, get into programs and shelters. The large population of homelessness in San Francisco is not due to the weather, as the government would like to presume; but the large monthly stipend could be a factor. Supervisor Newsom believes that if the City continues to expand drug treatment services, affordable housing, remodel or redesign transitional housing this would turn the death figures around.
Supervisor Newsom reviewed 13 pieces of legislations dealing with reforming slum landlords. He traveled with Mr. George Smith to Chicago and New York to review their past practices and find out how their homeless death rate was so low (four deaths last year in Chicago); and in comparison with what San Francisco was doing wrong. He committed himself to be responsible to the challenge. It will take at least ¼ of a billion dollars to start to turn this homelessness around (about 12-15 thousand homeless people in San Francisco). The fact is the people of San Francisco cannot wait for the federal and state government to save its citizens. He urged that it's time to take some responsibility and do things differently. He offered 36 pieces of homeless legislations in the last six months. Not any one single piece of legislation can resolve homelessness, such as opening 24-hour shelters, security at the shelter premises, methadone access so that private physicians can prescribe it, etc.
Supervisor Newsom introduced his proposal "Care not Cash" to solve homelessness". As people began to develop a new attitude, began to engage, began to deal with practical realities of the city streets, and start doing something about it—it will make a difference. The single leading cause of death is drug-related (heroin). San Francisco is the #1 drug addicted city in the US—approximately 15,000 on heroin. Doctors in the City & County of San Francisco support this initiative "Care not Cash". They are constantly dealing with one of the leading reasons that people use or have access to drugs around the 1st and the 15th of the month—County Adult Assistance (General Assistance) checks are issued during that period.
Supervisor Newsom compared the San Francisco recipients getting $395 per month, Alameda receiving $18, San Mateo receiving $56 and Chicago receiving $0. Across the nation, there is no city that receives as much cash assistance as San Francisco recipients. People swarm to San Francisco to obtain the cash assistance. However, with the cost of living in San Francisco, it would be difficult for a person to live on $395 per month. As Dr. Pablo Stewart of the Haight/Ashbury Free Clinic believes that the street population and statistics in San Francisco is so out-of-whack with the rest of the United States because cash is the contributor. Not all recipients of cash assistance are using drugs, but a disproportionate amount is. Statistics from the New England Journal of Medicine show that around the 1st and the 15th more people die in this country than any other time of the month—it was concluded that people buying drugs was a factor.
Dr. Mitch Katz, Director of Department of Public Health also supports "Care not Cash". He is tired of making excuses for why SF General Hospital is on diversion 30% of the time (when a person is sick or needs medical assistance, they are sent to another hospital because SF General is full). The diversion rates are higher on the 1st and the 15th of the month because that's when recipients get their checks. In New York City, there are 30,800 people in their shelter system because they dealt with street problems and people are not dying because of it.
The city policies are allowing people to die in the streets for the last decade. If a person is compassionate and care about people, they'll do something about it. Supervisor Newsom clarified that he is "Not taking money from poor people—he is converting those dollars into real services. There are no vouchers—converting cash into guaranteed access of services". The San Francisco recipients cannot live on $395 per month. People are getting insufficient sum of monies to even afford a roof over their heads and they are expected to turn their lives around—not realistic. Supervisor Newsom encouraged everyone on the 1st or 15th to visit a check-cashing place and see how crowded it is; or notice the drop of the shelter and increase of street populations; or the number of overdoses or people who are inebriated and sent to SF General from the streets. It is tragic and people are losing their lives because of it. The proposed legislature will convert the cash and do what other major cities are doing. One thousand vacant housing units have been identified in the city for this.
Supervisor Newsom is proposing that if the cash can be converted, he would like to expand the 1,000 housing units with a guarantee access to those units and expand drug treatment. Converting these dollars to the real services. "Guarantee" means: the legislation is drafted so that if there are no services available, the recipient would get the exact same amount of cash. Advocates would say it's wrong but the attorneys would say it is right. Supervisor Newsom explained that the last thing he wanted to do was to take something and give nothing in return.
This legislation was done to capture baseline funding that could never be taken away from the Department of Human Services. With the cutting of services in the city, these dollars will not be cut. The priority of the program is housing, but not limited to just housing, i.e. an individual may need a residential treatment program or other services. The legislation was drafted in a way that is not restrictive. Homelessness is not only about housing—it is about a lot of other issues. The legislation was written in consideration of people's unique challenges and needs. "Care not Cash" will be on the November ballot. They have received 23,000 signatures for the petition. Homeless GA clients assisted with acquiring signatures on the petition. There have been 88 interviews on videotape with homeless people speaking about this legislation. Supervisor Newsom encouraged everyone to review and read the legislation.
Commissioner Larkin concurred that there is a need to do something about the homelessness. The program sounds good and having worked with homelessness, it is not a single problem. Most homeless people have health issues, some drug related and a lot of things that have to be dealt with. Commissioner Larkin wanted to know if the "Care not Cash" is basically providing services that are needed for people to live everyday—not just shelter, but making sure clients have food, medical/health services, education for the children, etc. He noted that at present, homelessness is not only single people, but also families. He was concerned about other issues, such as shelters being unsafe and people feeling unprotected in those shelters.
Supervisor Newsom replied that the legislation includes security in shelters and expansion of the retro shelters on an annual basis. This program is different and does not affect children. Homelessness of families is the highest growing population—there are 150 families on the waiting list to get shelter in the City. County Adult Assistance is for single adults. This is why there is a ¼ of a billion dollars in additional spending to deal with a lot of things. He emphasized on dealing with the basic necessities, i.e. housing, food, and/or health-related issues. These programs can be expanded with actual dollars that are already being spent and simply need to be converted. The County Adult Assistance run the program and helped draft it. The doctors who deal with the population everyday are the ones supporting it.
Commissioner Nguyen remarked that the legislation sounded logical as a solution to the problem. She wanted to know where else in the country has this type of program been tested, and was it successful? Supervisor Newsom gave an example of Chicago eliminating the cash assistance many years ago—as a result fewer people are dying in the streets and more people are receiving help. New York and Alameda are guaranteeing access of services with less cash and getting the same results. Poverty exists all over the world. The same underline issues apply and everyone has an obligation to do something about it.
Commissioner Brown stated that in terms of the data that was gathered (from the Department of Public Health, DPH Commission, Department of Human Services, DHS Commission and the Medical Examiner), has there been any interaction with the shelters or its people to determine what their needs are or have they been considered in the process? Supervisor Newsom replied "Yes", he has read every single focus group that the Coalition Homeless has done that has publicly been provided. He has visited with the shelters citywide and has spoken to clients. He commended Commissioner Brown on the great job Providence has done with their shelter—which was a winter shelter and is now permanent.
Commissioner Brown concurred that the stats at the shelter are low during the 1st and the 15th. She wanted to know how does the drug problem among the homeless people equate with the drug problem in the city overall? Supervisor Newsom replied that the drug problem among the homeless in correlation to general assistance distinguishes itself because of the time the checks are received. The stats indicate that around the 1st and the 15th, more people are dying, more people from overdosing. General mortality rates don't have that direct correlation to dates. Physicians, people in the medical field (nurses, paramedics, etc.) and even the Mayor are in support of the program.
Commissioner Hardin clarified that "SRO" is the least expensive housing (about a minimum of $450 per month); and the plan is to give people a home, food and medical care if needed. She questioned that the cash the program is taking does not come close to providing these services? Supervisor Newsom responded that at present there is a master leasing of programs in the city. Brandy Shaw has five master leasing of programs. This year's budget shows $2.66 million for 803 units—which works out to less than $275 per month. An individual requesting one item is much more expensive than bulk purchase where the price can be reduced by taking over the entire hotel. By the rules that Supervisor Ammiano provided in the program for 1,000 units (bulk purchase on a master-leasing program) is better for the economy than $275 per month. There is ample room to expand, e.g. the methadone access at another vacant site. This program will not effect everyone that is homeless. This program only effects 30% of the county adult assistance program. Proof can be in the form of a receipt and not necessarily a rental receipt. He passed the legislation that individuals have to provide receipts for every transaction.
Commissioner Hardin wanted to know how many of this identified count of homeless people are going to be helped by these units? Supervisor Newsom explained that this would be determined by their willingness to participate on a voluntary basis. If a client cannot access, they will receive the same monthly check. The program has to produce. Not everyone that is homeless in the city, live in the city.
Commissioner Hardin wanted to know that if someone claims they are homeless, how can they get housing, food and medical care? Supervisor Newsom replied that there are millions of dollars for this and 32 locations for free food. The program does not guarantee everything—only the three basic things that the money cannot provide, i.e. food, shelter and clothing. Medical issues and related substance abuse can be converted in this program. This program is more sophisticated, more complicated and more tiered to deal with people's unique needs. Commissioner Hardin questioned what becomes of the person that has a drug problem in this process. Supervisor Newsom explained the process.
Commissioner Larkin opened the floor for comments from the audience (limited to three minutes). There were 18 persons from the audience who asked questions and made comments regarding the "Care not Cash" legislation. Commissioner Larkin thanked Supervisor Newsom on behalf of the Commission for his presentation and responding to questions. He commended the youth representing "Infusion One" for their participation, their abilities, and their seriousness on issues that affect them. He extended his appreciation to the advocates and citizens on sharing their concerns.
b) Mr. Gaylon Logan, Executive Director of Infusion One expressed that there is a need to revitalize the spirit of this community and Infusion One has been working towards this for a number of years. Also, there is a tremendous value in this community and a need to redefine the outreach within it. He introduced Mr. James Bell, Project Coordinator of Youth Leadership and Development.
Mr. Bell acknowledged the youth on their representation that was displayed that evening. He explained the five components of the program:
- Library Research - teaches the youth how to access the library and its materials.
- Public Speaking - teaches the youth how to effectively communicate with others, peers, mentors, etc.
- Event Planning - teaches the youth how to organize and mobilize the community when planning an event.
- City Voter Education - teaches the youth how to voice their opinion and shows them empowerment.
- Peer Mentoring - teaches the youth to be role models. After being graded and completing the program they would identify with younger groups (8-10 years old).
He introduced Ms. Paula Ashe to explain what their principle is. Ms. Ashe quoted "To strive for Respect, Responsibility and Reality" (acquiring these goals would guarantee success).
Ms. Armani Williams gave an overview of the Community Outreach Project. This is an opportunity that they have undertaken to develop partnerships, to establish a constant and consistent presence at heavily traveled areas in Bayview Hunters Point, and to build a trusting relationship with the youth (ages 13-20). The objectives of this project are to identify partnerships (outreach partners, resource partners, community-at-large partners) and to develop, facilitate and maintain training modules. Participants will be trained to actually go out into these areas and effectively engage with youth and the community outreach project's referral process. This is an innovative program and it is not new (method was used by Malcolm X). The outcomes of these efforts were explained in detail and a related information sheet was distributed. Ms. Williams summarized that they are developing a partnership with all the community services available and then providing the manpower to go out into the field and funnel the youth into these organizations. This is a unique and wonderful opportunity to provide the youth with services that they have not been able to receive before now—it is not new, but it does work.
Mr. Logan emphasized that it is time for the community, the commissions, and uninvolved persons to get involved. He stated that he is aware that the Commission is not a funding source, however, he requested their support in terms of (an outline of their request was circulated):
- Forward a letter to the Mayor in support of this project in its financial well being (the merits of the project).
- A letter of endorsement supporting the community outreach project to be used in promotional materials.
- Would like Commissioners (1-4) commit to providing a workshop for the young people at "Infusion One" on how commissions function and what roles they play in the community.
Mr. Logan concluded by thanking the Commission for their time and attention; and looks forward to working with the Commission in the future.
Commissioner Larkin stated that he has worked with "Infusion One" in the past and it is an excellent program for children. He wanted to know what types of services are being offered for parents? Mr. Logan explained that prior to the beginning of each program, there is always orientation for the family and a full explanation is given regarding what their child would be involved in throughout the program. At the completion of the program, there is a family night in which the participants facilitate a process where they can explain to the family members what they learned from the program.
Commissioner Brown commended Mr. Logan on the program, "The fruits of his efforts were demonstrated in a positive way that evening". Commissioner Looper remarked that he was familiar with the organization and would not only like to be a participant in the workshop, but would also like to be involved in the program. Mr. Logan welcomed his participation.
Commissioner Larkin explained that the first and second items that Mr. Logan requested would have to be placed on the agenda for the next meeting because these require votes. The third item does not require voting action—it is a personal voluntary issue that could be handled immediately. Commissioner Larkin committed to do a workshop collectively with the City Attorney for the young people. He instructed staff to draft the letter to the Mayor and endorsement letter for consideration at the next Commission meeting.
VIII. Director's Report
Dr. Toye Moses reported that a copy of the Annual Statement & Report of what transpired from July 1, 2001 thru June 30, 2002 was included in the Commission's package for their review. No new information from downtown regarding the website. The agenda and minutes were posted on schedule. The budget has been presented for approval to the Board of Supervisors. The Decorative Plant Services Lease Agreement has been drafted and will be e-mailed upon completion. There was discussion of the funding sources and Dr. Moses suggested that this item be deferred to "Introduction of New Business".
Commissioner Nguyen moved and Commissioner Looper seconded to accept the Executive Director's report. Motion passed unanimously to accept report as presented.
IX. Introduction of New Business
Commissioner Larkin suggested that the Director of Small Businesses be invited to give an overview of developments in this community. Also that Mr. Leamon Abrams, Mayor's Director of Economic Development be invited to address the Shipyard issue.
Dr. Moses asked that Mr. Marc MacDonald, Director of Real Estate be invited to address the Commission.
Ms. Susan Horsfall announced that on Monday, July 15th at 5 p.m., the Civil Service Commission will hold a special meeting to hear racial issues relative to the Director and Commissioner Linda Richardson. The Commission was invited to attend the meeting.
Commissioner Hardin moved and Commissioner Nguyen seconded to adjourn the SECF Commission meeting. Meeting adjourned at 8:52 p.m.