A ballot measure spearheaded by District 6's Jane Kim was "quietly" added to the November ballot yesterday, setting the stage for the first revision -- and arguable dismantling -- of Gavin Newsom's controversial Care Not Cash program. The measure would make it easier once again for homeless individuals to collect their full general assistance stipend from the City by redefining the terms of what constitutes housing, and stripping homeless shelters from the roster of available benefits.
Kim and co-sponsors John Avalos, David Campos, Eric Mar and Ross Mirkarimi argue that the current system creates a barrier for many people in getting homeless shelter beds, because the shelters reserve a certain number of beds for Care Not Cash participants, leaving them empty until late at night -- which often results in them being empty overnight. About 10% of shelter beds remain empty, she argues, for this reason.
Mayor Ed Lee has already come out against the measure, saying it goes too far and would effectively dismantle the program. Kim is saying this would only "clarify and strengthen it."
Under CNC, approved by voters in 2002, participants get a monthly cash payment of $59 along with a shelter bed and various serives; the amount goes up to $85 a month once a person is placed in permanent housing. If no housing is available, the cash stipend is set at $422. The new ballot measure would remove shelters from the definition of "housing," and therefore up the general assistance payments back to $422 for most participants until they find actual, permanent housing.