Newsom's 'Opportunity' jobs program good to go

More than two years in the making, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Communities of Opportunity program is ready to begin enrolling residents in four public housing neighborhoods in promised jobs and service programs.

Working out of newly created community centers in Bayview-Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley, the initiative seeks to simplify and centralize access to city services and jobs by creating a one-stop program, similar to the approach used in another of Newsom’s programs, Project Homeless Connect.

To date, 500 of the 15,000-plus residents that live in the four public housing sites have signed on to give the program a try. On Thursday, $500,000 worth of new programs for residents — ranging from college prep classes to credit restoration assistance — was announced.

Dwayne Jones, executive director of Communities of Opportunity, said that while two years have been spent building infrastructure, now the program was “at the real launch.”

“This is when we’re saying, ‘Fine, now hold us accountable from this day moving forward,’” Jones said.

Some residents were ready to do just that. At the Hunters Point Youth Park, the mayor’s first stop, Newsom was tailed by two women who said the Communities of Opportunity program had failed to connect them with jobs.

“There’s no point in coming down here if they aren’t going to give you a job,” said Tyisha Hamilton, 21. “I have an associate’s degree. When I give them my résumé, nobody calls me back.”

Jones acknowledged that there was still a lot of skepticism about the promise of Communities of Opportunity.

“We’re working on the heels of several decades of failed promises,” he said. Several hundred jobs would come online through the program, he said.

When fully implemented, the Communities of Opportunity program is expected to cost about

$43 million annually. Most of the funding will come from taxpayer dollars, from the budgets of 13 city agencies, but the program also depends upon philanthropic generosity. To date, $5 million has been generated for the program from private foundations, but by 2008, a gap of $13 million annually will be left open for charitable dollars to fill, according to the program’s business plan.

Newsom said he is optimistic that the private dollars will be raised, “if we demonstrate success,” while also acknowledging, “if we don’t, we won’t.”

beslinger@examiner.com

Each day until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, The Examiner lays odds on local figures beating Mayor Gavin Newsom. Check out our exclusive blog: San Francisco's Next Mayor?


Do you approve of the job Mayor Newsom is doing?

Share your comments below.

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

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

San Jose Sharks (pictured Feb. 15, 2020 vs. Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center) open the season on Monday against the St. Louis Blues in St. Louis. (Tribune News Service archive)
This week in Bay Area sports

A look at the upcoming major Bay Area sports events (schedules subject… Continue reading

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Most Read