Newsom focusing second term on homelessness

Headed into his second term as mayor, Gavin Newsom said he would renew efforts to combat homelessness, specifically street behavior, conceding that efforts during his first term “haven’t had the impact on street behavior that I would have liked.”

Newsom, first elected in 2003 on a platform built upon the issue of homelessness, has started various efforts in The City to try and remove homeless people from the streets, including Care Not Cash, a program that reduces cash amounts given to homeless people on welfare in exchange for housing or shelter, and Project Homeless Connect, a program that brings health and human services for the homeless under one roof during day-long events every other month.

On Monday, Newsom toured the first Project Homeless Connect gathering of 2008, receiving compliments, complaints and even a painting of himself as he walked through the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Afterward he walked and talked with The Examiner about what he plans to do differently during his second term as mayor, saying he wanted to make a “very big distinction between homelessness/panhandling behavior issues of poverty.”

“We haven’t had the impact on street behavior that I would have liked,” Newsom said, noting that since he began his tenure in office 6,860 formerly homeless people have come off the streets.

A January 2007 homeless count, required biennially by federal law, identified 6,377 homeless people in The City, although homeless advocates questioned the accuracy of the count. A subsequent report by The City revealed that two-thirds of The City’s homeless became transients while here and that while thousands of people have moved into housing or left The City since 2004, more than 3,400 people took their place.

Newsom said programs were working but homelessness remained a “serious problem.”

An August report from the San Francisco Human Services Agency found that San Francisco Police handed out 625 panhandling citations to 147 people from Jan. 1, 2007 to Aug. 24, 2007. Of those 147, 39 were deemed “aggressive” by city officials for receiving five or more citations.

Newsom said the Mayor’s Office will target its outreach over the next four years to focus on high-end users of the services system and combating street behavior with homeless outreach teams, medical respite services, sobering centers and a redesign of The City’s sheltering system.

Priorities for second term

Combating The City’s high homicide rate, a “baby bond” for children and recruiting more like-minded candidates to run forthe Board of Supervisors are among plans the mayor has going into his second term in office.

Newsom told The Examiner Monday that changes at the police department will be made to help lower The City’s high number of homicides, including a new commander’s position within the department that will be “focused exclusively on housing authority sites,” said Newsom.

Additionally, the mayor said in his second term he will push for the creation of a new “baby bond,” a financial account for children in The City to build savings and teach financial literacy, among other things, Newsom said. He will work with the philanthropic sector to partner with The City so the cost is “not exclusively borne by taxpayers,” and those with accounts would be required to perform community or public service to access the account, he added.

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Currey (30) tallied 26 points and seven assists at Monday night’s game against the Lakers. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors overcome 19-point deficit to stun defending-champion Lakers 115-113

Ladies and gentlemen, the Golden State Warriors are officially back. Stephen Curry… Continue reading

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Most Read