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SF religious leaders silently protest new homeless proposition (San Francisco. CA)
by Bay City News Service Monday October 21, 2002 at 09:46 PM

Religious leaders are expected to convene on the steps of city hall in San Francisco today in silent protest over Proposition N, Supervisor Gavin Newsom's newest answer to the homeless debate.

Sponsored by the Religious Witness With Homeless People, a small
group of leaders from different congregations will meet every
Monday through Friday through October 25 to distribute literature
and display a 6-foot-by-4-foot sign urging the community to vote
"No on N.''

According to Sister Bernie Galvin, the program's director, the
existing homeless situation demands a more progressive approach
and a continued reliance on shelters is not the solution.

"We are fed up with the current crisis, and N is not the solution,''
Galvin said. "Prop N is fraught with empty promises and loopholes
and makes no guarantees for housing and services.''

Citing Prop. N's inability to define housing, the burden of
placing the crisis on the homeless community and the flawed
assumption that all homeless people are alcoholics and drug
addicts, Galvin stressed that N is neither compassionate nor a
solution.

"A clue to the possible direction of the city in providing housing
lies in Prop. N's definition of housing, which includes a cot or a
two-inch mat on the floor of a crowded shelter,'' Galvin said.

"It is more likely that the city will simply focus on providing
more of these shelter cots or mats as the fastest and cheapest
way of satisfying the promises of Prop N for housing.''

Authored by Sup. Newsom, Proposition N calls for a reduction of
the County Adult Assistance Program's payment from up to $395 to
$59 a month along with housing, food and counseling.

Newsom argues that the $395 a month is not enough to live on in
San Francisco and some people use their check to by drugs or
alcohol that not only harms them but places them at risk of death
through overdose. He notes that the current patchwork of
services, while costing upwards of $100 million a year, has
failed to ease the problem.

Newsom added that his less-cash plan would only go into effect if
sufficient housing exists, likely through the city leasing hotel rooms.

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