Traffic came to a halt last night as homeless and affordable-housing advocates marched down the center of Mission Street from 24th to 22nd in opposition to four measures on the upcoming ballot. As buses backed up and police watched, Mission Local reports the group denounced propositions P, U, Q, and R — arguing that the first two would harm affordable housing and that the latter two would lead to further harassment of the homeless.
The group stopped at 22nd and Mission in front of the site of a demolished apartment building that was destroyed by fire in 2015, and set up furniture in the street to symbolize the homes lost when sixty or so tenants were displaced by the blaze. “That’s 60 people who don’t live in San Francisco, who don’t live in their home,” Causa Justa organizer Maria Zamudio told Mission Local.
But the burned apartment building was not what got the 150 or so people out last night. Instead, they were attempting to ally support to their efforts just a few days shy of election day — calling attention to four specific measure on an extremely crowded ballot. Proposition P would mandate the city get three bids from developers before moving forward on affordable housing projects, and Proposition U would make those earning up to 110 percent of the area medium income eligible for affordable housing. Protesters argue that, if passed, the measures would harm the poor. Meanwhile, Proposition Q would allow police to clear sidewalk tents 24 hours after giving notice to their occupants and offering shelter services, and R would create SFPD neighborhood crime units — measures both viewed by protesters as anti-homeless.
“We know that this proposition is a death sentence on those who are on the streets,” marcher Bilal Ali told Mission Local of Q and R.
Jeff Kositsky, the head of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, has spoken out about Q as well — telling Mission Local last month that "Every election cycle homeless people are used as red capes," he explained. "When we politicize this issue, it makes it very hard to solve.”
After roughly two hours, the protesters packed up and the normal flow of traffic resumed.