The Trump administration recently targeted California for criticism over its homelessness problems and, among other things, argued the state should relax its rules around housing development. President Trump also alleged that San Francisco is violating clean water laws by allowing needles and other waste caused by homelessness to flow into ocean - a claim most local officials have dismissed as groundless. (Chris Kleponis/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS)

Trump’s bluster won’t help solve homelessness. Building affordable housing will.

By David Campos

While enjoying a brief stop in the Bay Area to take in millions in campaign contributions, President Donald Trump unleashed his trademark rage and divisive rhetoric at homeless residents.

This is typical Trump bloviating – demonizing a group in hopes of scoring political points with his base. We can now add homeless residents to a long list that had previously included immigrants, refugees, Muslims, residents of Atlanta and Baltimore and many many others. Of course, unmentioned in his tirade was the fact that Trump has repeatedly tried to dramatically cut funding for critical affordable housing and homelessness programs.

The last thing San Francisco needs is more “help” from Donald Trump. But we can help each other.

No one living in San Francisco doubts we have an affordability crisis – a crisis that has left many residents with no option but the streets. Bluster and threats will not help those residents. Indeed, any actions taken by the Trump Administration will likely make the problem worse. However, we do have a way to get people back into homes and help our most vulnerable residents avoid homelessness entirely.

We can commit ourselves to building more affordable housing through Prop A.

Prop A is a $600 million housing bond on this November’s ballot. It builds on the success of the 2015 affordable housing bond, which is currently constructing hundreds of units of affordable housing right now. This new investment will allow us to keep our foot on the gas and make even more progress.

Critically, Prop A includes a substantial investment in senior housing. For many seniors on a fixed income, even “affordable” housing can be too expensive. By directing assistance to our vulnerable elderly, we can help ensure they have a safe and stable place to live.

And newly created housing will continue to help us provide homes for the formerly homeless. Housing is the ultimate answer to homelessness. Trump has been busy trying to take away federal support for housing, homelessness and health care – three critical areas that help people get, and stay, off the street. The last thing he should do is insult a city that is trying to make up for his appalling lack of compassion for everyone impacted by rising housing prices.

It may be very unfamiliar to Trump, but there are policy solutions that bring people together rather than divide them. Prop A has the support of Mayor London Breed, every member of the Board of Supervisors, organizations ranging from the Chamber of Commerce to the Sierra Club to the San Francisco Democratic Party.

Unlike Trump, we in San Francisco are showing there’s a better path than angry tweets and dehumanizing rhetoric – we work together and help each other. That’s why I’m voting yes on Prop A.

David Campos is a former San Francisco supervisor and chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.

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