Prop. I would guarantee funding for SF’s aging population

Voters in San Francisco could give a leg up to San Francisco’s senior citizens if they pass a measure meant to ensure funding for their future health care.

Proposition I ­­— the Dignity Fund — would do just that for seniors and seniors with disabilities by creating a guaranteed chunk of cash — $38 million in the first year — that would increase over the next two decades.

“I believe it is a worthwhile choice,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, the measure’s author. “We are going to be paying one way or another, so let’s be smart about it.”

While The City provides for seniors in myriad ways, it does not have a special set aside fund specifically aimed at paying for such services.

If passed, the measure will amend the charter to guarantee funding of such services by requiring a set aside from city funds. The new fund will be administered through the Department of Aging and Adult Services, and services include home health care, food and caregiver programs as well as community centers and advocacy programs.

The fund would begin at a $38 million baseline, which was set because it represents what The City spent on such services in fiscal year 2016-17. It would grow by $6 million in the first year and then by $3 million each year until 2027 at which point it will cap at $72 million. The fund would be in place for 20 years and be overseen by an 11 member panel.

By 2020, said Cohen, there will be an additional 100,000 senior citizens living in San Francisco and this funding will help make sure that swings in the economy or political winds take away funding for their care.

“There is a very personal realness that resonated with me,” said Cohen, who said she cared for her grandmother at the end of her life.

Jonah Owen Lamb
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Jonah Owen Lamb

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