June 2018: Vote Yes on Prop D to Fund Affordable Housing in San Francisco

San Francisco is experiencing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis. This is a sustainability issue as well. Urban living uses fewer resources, especially in terms of transportation, water, and energy. As people are unable to afford homes in San Francisco, they move to less densely built and often distant suburbs, putting them farther from job centers. Transit options are limited, so driving increases, and that hurts air quality, water quality, and the climate.

What’s more, homelessness is a fundamental failure of sustainable urban livability. A sustainable city takes care of the people who live there. People need homes for their health, safety, and basic well-being. Homelessness impacts everyone, and all San Franciscans benefit from a just transition to a more sustainable city.

Proposition D would raise funds to help more San Franciscans find homes they can afford, particularly homeless people and others most in need. It would do so by raising the tax on commercial landlords from 0.3% to 1.7% of gross receipts, generating an estimated $70 million per year. Small businesses and non-profits are exempted from the tax.

Prop D funds programs that include: rent subsidies for low-income seniors; rehabilitation of single-room-occupancy units; supportive housing for people with severe mental illness or substance abuse; and navigation centers, including one for homeless youth. It also includes some funds for middle-income housing.

Prop D and Prop C

The San Francisco League of Conservation Voters supports good government as well as sustainability, and we are concerned that Prop D competes with Prop C, which would increase commercial landlord taxes to fund early childhood education in San Francisco. The League has endorsed Prop C.

Prop D contains a “poison pill” stipulating that only one measure can pass: if Prop D passes, Prop C will not. We are disappointed that our elected leaders did not work together on these measures and iron out this conflict before they went to voters.

However, we feel that both Prop C and Prop D are important enough to support. We realize they cannot both win, but we are endorsing both because we endorse the goals of both.

We support Prop D in particular because it addresses what is possibly our city’s toughest problem. We do not feel we can refuse any opportunity to address San Francisco’s crisis of homelessness and unaffordable housing.

For that reason, we urge you to vote Yes on Prop D.