Mission Homeless Action Team to raise money for Measure S

They made good money but left L.A. because it didn’t go far enough. Are they gone for good?

Not quite. Some of them still show up by the pool (or the gym), and they talk about how the neighborhood is better than before. “It’s been such a different place. It’s different. It hasn’t changed. It’s been so kind of safe, for the first time in so long,” says one woman.

They do, however, have an interesting new mission: to save money. “They are not here to change things. And I have nothing to do with it,” said the councilwoman. “It’s about a new business model. It’s about lowering the cost of services to the people that live closest to the center. It’s about what can we do to make it more efficient to actually make the money stay in the city and not in the private company.”

In the last few days, though, one group has turned its attention to the homeless problem in San Francisco. A group called the Mission Homeless Action Team will host its first event at City Hall on Tuesday to drum up support for a ballot initiative that would spend $20 million of the $31 million raised by Measure S to build shelter and counseling.

The group will be joined by a homeless community advocate and a mayoral spokesman who say a homeless living situation is a public health problem that must be addressed.

“To have a homeless population that is growing, not only on the streets, but also in the Mission, is not healthy for the neighborhood,” said Jim Gatto, Mission Homeless Action Team organizer. “So the mayor and the city government can try to address that, but if the people don’t want to pay for a solution to a very real and growing problem, I think we have to take a new approach.”

The group has scheduled a protest march to the Palace of Fine Arts on Wednesday, but people are also trying to put pressure on the City Council to fund the shelter initiative. The council member who sponsored Measure S, Nancy Phesto of the District 4, said she will bring it up at their next meeting on Wednesday.

“I know the measure worked,” Phesto said. “I worked on it and supported it and spent a great deal of time raising funds for it. I did the city a great service by passing it.”

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