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Is it time to end Care not Cash?

Host: Joseph Pace

Producer: Yumi Wilson 

Some leading homeless advocates think it is, and they've convinced five supervisors to place a measure on the November ballot that would effectively repeal Care Not Cash. Jane Kim, Eric Mar, David Campos, John Avalos and Ross Mirkarimi all support a measure that is now being called the Fair Shelter Initiative.

The initiative would eliminate homeless shelters from the definition of housing. Supervisor Jane Kim has said in published reports that the measure would "clarify and actually strengthen Care not Cash." Opponents, however, say the measure will destroy Care Not Cash, and some have launched a petition to save it.

Care not Cash, the brainchild of former mayor, now-Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, was passed by voters in 2002. It cuts General Assistance checks to thousands of homeless people who are provided housing or a shelter bed from about $400 to a little less than sixty bucks.

The coalition on Homelessness, which has played a pivotal role in challenging Care Not Cash, says the new ballot measure will put pressure on the city to provide people with decent housing, not just a bed in a shelter.

But city officials, including interim Mayor Ed Lee, have said that the initiative make it harder to help the people who need it the most.

Are homeless people getting the kind of housing voters envisioned when they supported Gavin Newsom's program nearly ten years ago? Does the program unjustly take money from the homeless? What do taxpayers think about ending Care not Cash?


  • Trent Rhorer, executive director of San Francisco's Human Services Agency.
  • Tim Redmond, executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
  • Bob Offer-Westort, civil rights organizer for the Coalition on Homelessness.
  •  Phil Ting, Assessor-Recorder of San Francisco and a candidate for mayor.