Why We Support Yes on Prop C in San Francisco
Because housing is a human right, and homelessness hurts all of us. San Francisco has the opportunity to center progressive politics by voting Yes on C to help house and support our neighbors experiencing homelessness. This measure addresses the affordable housing and homelessness crises on so many important fronts, including: building new housing for those who need it most (Yes to more affordable housing!) and protecting vulnerable San Franciscans who are at risk of becoming homeless from losing their housing in the first place.
And the best part? Prop C was created as a comprehensive plan to address all aspects of the homelessness crisis by those who know it best, including people who have personally experienced homelessness and those who work directly with folks who are homeless.
What is Prop C?
Prop C is a bold and progressive ballot measure that plans to tackle homelessness in San Francisco. The premise is simple – a small tax will be applied to all businesses earning more than $50m in revenue per year. This accounts for 1% of San Francisco’s businesses, and is a gross receipts tax.
With more than 7500 homeless residents in the city (most of whom had housing in San Francisco before they became homeless), San Francisco accounts for more than 1.23 percent of all homeless people living in the US. In a city where the waitlist for a temporary shelter for 90 days is 1000 people long, it’s clear that radical action needs to be taken by local government to provide greater support and housing for those without homes, and Prop C is the radical action we’ve been looking for.
How will it work?
According to estimates from the controller’s office,the tax would generate up to $300m a year. The tax would be applied to all businesses with annual revenue of more than $50m, which is between 300 and 400, and these taxes would almost double what is currently being spent on tackling homelessness in San Francisco. Half of the money raised through the tax will specifically be spent on building affordable homes, which is a huge deal in a city with such extreme housing inequality and with such a desperate need for more truly affordable housing. Another 25% of the funding will go into mental health, and drug addiction services, 15% will go towards prevention, and 10% will go into clean streets. This will be overseen by the Mayor’s office, and has inbuilt financial accountability.
This tax will be applied to corporations which all benefited from the Trump administration’s massive corporate tax break. According to the city’s Chief Economist, Ted Egan, “the income tax cut these corporations received would outweigh the 0.5% gross receipts tax increase for the majority of the 300–400 affected businesses.”
San Francisco has a history of treating the homelessness crisis with punitive measures. As Christin Evans, owner of The Booksmith, writes, “In the last 20 years alone, we’ve banned panhandling (Prop M), banned tents (Prop Q) and banned sitting on the streets (Prop L) not to mention taking away financial benefits (Prop N, Care Not Cash). And all of these laws have gotten us where? Take a look at our streets right now and it’s clear that if we’re not housing homeless people than we’re not addressing homelessness”.
This is the most hopeful measure we've seen in a long time, that's really working to create the world we want to see, and address the housing problems we are facing at the scale they need, so Vote YES on Prop C on November 6th!
Why does this matter?
Seriously?! Because we should always, always, put people before profit.
Who supports it?
Marc Benioff, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, YAH!, the Coalition on Homelessness, Glide, the San Francisco Democrats, St Anthony’s, will.i.am, it’s a brilliant list and you can see it in full here.
Who opposes it?
San Francisco Mayor, London Breed. Jack Dorsey, of Twitter and Square fame, Stripe, Lyft.
It's a fun bunch of wealthy individuals, corporations, and politicians deciding that the needs of real human people are less important than San Francisco being home to some very profitable corporations.
How can you help?
In so, so many ways! Let me break down some options for you:
There are also actions in Dolores Park, and a few other spots – check out Yes on C - Our City, Our Home for more info about ways to get involved.