Over the course of the last six months, we've heard a lot about what politicians think of the homeless who live on San Francisco's streets. What we haven't heard so much of, on the other hand, is what those experiencing homelessness think of their elected officials. Well, Vice took the time to ask a few people living on the streets how they'd be voting in today's election, and while unfortunately the questions were limited to the national election and didn't address local politics, the results are still fascinating.
The publication spoke with six different people representing a wide range of backgrounds. There's 51-year-old Christine Saulsbury, a San Francisco native who became homeless after being evicted from her home; 60-year-old Megan Sue Belafonte, who has been homeless since she lost her home six months ago to foreclosure; 39-year-old Allier Rodriguez, who works but can't afford to live in SF and therefor stays in a shelter. These people and others shared with the publication and eloquently spoke of the challenges they face.
In response to a question asking who 58-year-old Linda Jones, a former social worker and current sex worker, believed would best be able to help the homeless, she made her support for Clinton clear. "Hillary," she noted. "Democrats, one of their platforms has always been to help the homeless."
Thirty-nine year old Daniel Aldrich, on the other hand, is a Sanders man. "Even though Sanders may have some different viewpoints than I do, he is trying to reach across the social Grand Canyon in this city," observed Aldrich. "There is no middle class in this city, and there's no bridge in the social gap in this city."
"It's like we're moving toward a caste system," he added. "Sanders would be a representative for homeless people. We're a nation of exiles."
Rodriguez also backs Sanders, noting that he thinks "Sanders will be more for the low-income [people] than Hillary. Hillary seems more mainstream, meaning that if [the] mainstream doesn't think it's cool to help the homeless, then that's what she'll side with."
Galandrahon Shambhala, 29, is backing no one. "Trump, Clinton, Sanders— it's the same thing," he told Vice. "You can't vote for anyone to bring you the salvation you want."
While that may be true, elected city officials do have a say on how the roughly $241 million a year the city spends to combat homelessness is spent — you can bet those living on the streets are paying attention.