tv San Francisco and Philadelphia Mayors Discuss Housing Policy CSPAN January 28, 2019 8:54pm-9:41pm EST
game over, how politics has turned the sports world upside down and his most recent jim brown, last man standing. >> i love sports and that's why think we need to fight for sports.
we need to reclaim them and take sports back. if are going to do so what we need is to know our history. that's our greatest ammunition in this fight. we need to know the history of the athletes and the sports writers and the fans who have stood up to the machine. if for no other reason than knowing this history it allows us to look at the world and see the struggle can affect every aspect of life in the system. even the sushi adorned ivory tower known as sports. >> join our live through our conversation. with your calls, emails and tweets and facebook questions live sunday on noon eastern. on c-span two.>> next the mayor of san francisco and philadelphia. taking part in a discussion on housing and climate change policy. this is part of the recent meeting of the u.s. conference of mayors. >> good morning. we are going
to get started. my name is eugene low. i am a member of the conference staff. we are
very pleased to see all of you here this morning from this best practice for him. on new challenges and solutions to homelessness. it is my pleasure now to introduce the moderator for the first part of the program. kristin cast. with the staff writer with the atlantic. he covers housing, architecture and politics. he has been recently working on a story dealing with the government shutdown. and how it is pushing low income renters to the brink of possible eviction.
he is also looked at how landlords nationwide have shut their doors on renters receiving housing assistance. he previously worked as a senior editor for architect magazine. >> thank you so much. i will introduce my fellow panelist i bet you already know them. since taking office in january 2015, mayor jim kenney has implemented an agenda. it creates more opportunity in every quarter of his city which is philadelphia. he worked closely with city council. to fund anti-poverty initiative, including pre- quality pre-k in the historic investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in parks
and recreation centers and playgrounds and libraries. finding solutions to the issue of intergenerational poverty and restoring equity in historically underserved neighborhoods. it has always been and will always be a priority for the mayor. laster the silly city of philadelphia open a first of its kind engagement center that provides a gateway to vital services and care for individuals experiencing homelessness. mayor kenny committed to providing over $50 million in new resources to support the city's first housing action plan. the largest investment the city has seen in years. he has formed an eviction task force. ways to reduce the number of evictions in philadelphia. now near the end of his first term, he fights to make sure philadelphia is a city that works for all. mayor london breed is the 45th mayor of the city and county of san francisco in the first african-american woman in the city's history. prior to being elected by voters
in the june 2010 election she served as acting mayor following the sudden passage of mayor and when lee. merely is a -- she has enacted initiatives to provide care and shelter for the city's homeless population. building more housing and improving public safety and continuing san francisco's global leadership and opportunities for local residents. she served as a member of the board of supervisors for six years. including the last three years as president on the board. the mayor created more housing along transit corridor's. for affordable housing in their communities. shelter reform the city's emergency response system i fought for money for san francisco's homelessness.
and enacted the strongest styrofoam band in the country. she was raised by her grandmother. she graduated with honors from galileo high school and attended the university of california. earning a bachelor of arts degree in political science and political service with a minor in african-american studies. she went on to earn a masters degree from the university of san francisco. thank you and welcome. welcome to washington d.c. i suppose as a resident i owe you a apology. we have not been behaving very well. i wanted to talk first about the shutdown. in low income communities, especially, there is a looming cliff. housing choice voucher funds expire at the end of next month. also nutrition assistance
program funds expire at the end of next month if not before. this is a question for both of you, are you taking steps now to address this potential pitfall? what are the steps? i will start with mayor kenny. >> the irony of this whole thing is that this administration keeps on doing things to make our jobs more difficult. at the same time using that excuse to beat us up for the things that we struggle to deal with as a result of their stupid decisions. gun violence is up and they want to anything about guns. affordable housing is scarce. they are talking about cutting housing choice vouchers. everything that they do, they will not fund education and they complain we are uneducated. i happen to have the highest poverty rate in the country. we struggle with that every day. i've come to the conclusion that there is no superman or superwoman that is flying in
from washington or the state capital that will fix any of this stuff until we change as we did in 2018. change the makeup of a legislative body, and hopefully in 2020 change the makeup of the second body. and have a new president. those are the things we need to struggle with and hold onto and deal with. on a daily basis. the opioid crisis. if i could get $25 million to help with the opioid crisis as opposed to building a wall things will be better. we need to work with other cities on best practices. share ideas and information and try to get through this national nightmare we are going through. >> thank you. yes, i would agree with mayor kenny on some of the points that he made. because we are in our cities, especially struggling with the opioid crises that is really
linked to why we have the challenges we do on our streets with homelessness. ultimately i think though it is important that we look at this as an opportunity. the shutdown has been really horrible. it does highlight the challenges that our country continues to face under this current president. and hopefully folks will take their passion and the challenges that we are dealing with as an opportunity to make sure if we go to the ballot box and elect a new president to take his place. ultimately and san francisco we are getting prepared. we actually have, fortunately some safeguards in place to address some of the challenges with the housing vouchers. we work with many nonprofit agencies that really are responsible for a number of affordable housing developments. there are timelines built into
our ability to pay the fees for those particular vouchers. a couple months will be a timeframe in which they will be able to basically wait until they receive payment. we have budget reserves. if necessary, for some of our programs to help address the challenges with cow fresh and some of the other things that we provide. we will see what we need to do. it is not as if we can do this forever. it is not sustainable. the sad reality is although with the workers, we are working on ways, and the state of california people are able to collect unemployment insurance. we are looking at gap funding to loan people money as well as
how are we going to help make sure they are able to pay their insurance as well? because they have been unemployed for a time period. ultimately the biggest concern that i have is whether or not we will be able to recoup the cost. for the housing vouchers. for our food programs. what is going to happen, once the shutdown ends if ever. this is going to be a real challenge for us. we are making plans. so that people don't get evicted. because even though they are nonprofit housing providers that we can work with and they can wait for payments, and we have budget reserves that we can tap into and provide support, it is not sustainable. long-term it is not sustainable. my biggest concern is as we start to draw down on budget reserves as we force these nonprofits to wait for payments, and in some cases
they may or may not receive payments. what happens if we don't get this money back? i think there is a lot of work to do. not just in places like california, but places all over the country. i am sure all of the cities all over the countries with both democratic and republican mayors are dealing with some of the same challenges. i do think it is important that we really come together and really hold our federal elected officials accountable. to the people that they represent. because, again this is not sustainable. we are making the appropriate plans in order to address it.
we are fortunate in san francisco that the economy is good. we have a 2.3 percent unemployment rate. we still have a large homeless population because of this opioid crisis and people suffering from mental health issues. i would much rather spend my time as mayor on addressing those issues been dealing with the effects, and the policies that continue to wreak havoc on our cities. and that are coming out of washington d.c. >> thank you for that answer. mayor kenny, latinos and latinas represent about 15 percent of the population in philadelphia. as i understand they are the poorest minority group in philadelphia. yet they can hardly be found in the shelter system. they are also underrepresented in the housing choice voucher system. it is something that some advocates describe as a housing paradox. how are you able to reach these populations with services that they need if they're not coming to us?
>> you have to work with nonprofit partners. the first thing you have to do with homeless folks is not be angry at them, and not be the business community is sometimes angry that they are there. get rid of these people and get them off the street. we don't care where they go. you have to get to the mindset that these human beings that need our assistance for whatever reason, whether it's a catastrophic issue that is affected their lives or drug addiction or mental health. they are there and we have to figure out a way to approach them with a business community and with our nonprofits and with our other folks working in this environment to get them into a safe space. we work in certain areas of our city, we work with the nonprofits that are particularly latin next oriented or created to reach through. the other problem is with our undocumented immigrants because of the nonsense with i.c.e. and all the other stuff it's even harder. people are going deeper down into the closet or the basement and not wanting to reach out for help. we had an additional issue
relative to hurricane maria. people came from puerto rico to philadelphia. what you normally expect a national government to do on these issues, they advocate and refuse to do it. they ends up falling to the cities to do it. we wind up having to be the service provider and last resort. we have a number of active x nonprofits who work in the communities. on the grass roots level that we work with on a regular basis to address these problems we are dealing with. >> mayor i want to ask you about a different kind of paradox. the city of san francisco hands out and almost 4.5 -- through its needle exchange program. that means you are preventing one health crisis, but it is one that is invisible in a sense. you cannot see an hiv outbreak
that doesn't happen. you can see the needles on the ground. how do you deal with the political problem that needles cause while maintaining support for the health cross-ice crisis. >> yes it is possible that having needles found in playgrounds and other places where someone could potentially get plucked by one of them is creating another public health crisis. i understand that. i am beyond frustrated about some of the challenges with people who unfortunately suffer from substance abuse disorder. at the end of the day part of what we have been able to do, we hire people specifically to go around and pick up and cleanup needles in those particular areas. the reason why i have been a big supporter of trying to implement safe injection sites
in my city has everything to do with not only trying to get the needles off of the street, and trying to bring people indoors because it is something of course we all know that nobody wants to see. ultimately when someone is ready to get help we have to be able to meet them where they are. we are not going to stop a drug addict from using drugs. people who have challenges with addiction will do whatever it takes to get access to whatever they need to get their fix. that is just the reality. at the end of the day what happens when the person is coming into a place where they are treated with respect and they are not judged? more importantly, when they are ready. when it is time. they can go to a place they have been going to and probably shooting up for years or months or what have you. that is the same place they will go and ask for help. we have to be able to get that person into help right away.
it works in other countries. we know we haven't been able to open one. seattle is interested in doing the same thing. a few other cities in the united states who want to open safe injection sites. we have major challenges with federal law. we have one of our senators introduce the bill in sacramento, i think governor gavin newsom will probably be more open to it. we will probably be able to cross a barrier on the state level. i am optimistic about the possibility of doing it. i wasn't a big supporter of basically, when you think about it, why are we providing a place for people to shoot up and make it more convenient for them to get high? again it is not just about that. ultimately, what we are doing
is not working. this could be part of the solution but more importantly getting people help. that's the ultimate goal of where i'd like to get so there are less people using drugs. >> we have one particular neighborhood in philadelphia that is the epicenter of our hair when and opioid issue in kensington and fairhope. what we have done is instituted and installed a number of needle deposit boxes near the l stops and areas where people congregate. that is actually helped with a number of reducing the number of syringes and needles on the ground. we have also done, we have done every two months or so a major cleanup in that area. we do have people go around that are trained to retrieve the needles. as far as the safe injection sites are concerned i recognize that people's reaction to that,
why would we do this as mayor breed said? because we want to keep people alive. we had over 1200 overdose deaths last year. that would've been reduced substantially if we had a location people could go safely and in jack and if they overdose someone was there for them. nursing staff and medical staff. if you are shooting up under a railroad bridge or in an alley somewhere and you fall out you are probably going to die. our city has the responsibility to keep people alive. until we have the opportunity to get to them. the other issue, and what i have been reading about the research, marijuana cannabis legalization and allowing it to be used for medical treatment with people who are addicted has been very effective. i think in pennsylvania for example it is extremely hypocritical to the state of pennsylvania sponsors, sells and promotes alcohol in their own states or store system.
marijuana should not be talked about when it is effective in treating people with opioid addiction. we saw in massachusetts, even from a revenue standpoint. pennsylvania no one wants to raise taxes to pay for education. they signed the grover northwest ledge how many years ago? they will never raise taxes. you don't have to raise taxes by legalizing recreational marijuana. you can get a revenue stream that would make sense. people are buying underground anyway. i saw in massachusetts when they open the first massachusetts spot. everyone in line was my age or older. it's crazy to have a system where you sell alcohol and you turn your nose up at the canada's cannabis part of it. the first thing that happens,
our u.s. attorney who i happen to like and respect very much. threatening to lock everybody up for saving people's lives. having a debate whether we can sponsor it or it's a nonprofit. those are the things that we need to do outside of the box. >> there is a tree graphic problem. in a conversation with the converse san francisco chronicle. conspiracy to consolidate in district 6. i would ask you mayor breed, are you engaged in a conspiracy? >> second, can you point to
policies that address the very real problem that a crisis is so concentrated in one part of the city. >> on like the supervisor who made those allegations i was actually born and raised in san francisco. many of the people who live in the tenderloin which is in close proximity to where i grew up, those are a lot of people i grew up with. so many people and so many of my friends have ended up in the criminal justice system. and ended up on drugs. in some instances they have ended up dead. this is work i have been focused on for most of my career. ever since i have the opportunity which i never thought i would, to even go to college coming from a challenging community.
i take it personal. the tenderloin, the neighborhood of the tenderloin, the housing opportunities that exist there are a lot of single room occupancy hotels. they basically are rooms and shared bathrooms situations. they are a lot more affordable. a lot of folks end up in the tenderloin because it's more affordable. sadly they have been pushed out a lot of a lot of their neighborhoods around san francisco. also with the city does in order to try to house a lot of homeless individuals we work with the people who own these buildings, and we take out master leases. we basically rent the whole building in order to basically get homeless people off the streets and into housing. there just so happens to be a
concentration of these particular rooms that are available in order to house people that are located in the tenderloin. let me also say there is a lot of bad behavior. as a kid when i was growing up it was easy. basically when you considered what you would do in life, you could go down to the tenderloin and sell drugs. that was an option, and it still is an option. part of what i have already started to do is spend a lot of time in the tenderloin. i have run into friends and family members. it has been great because they feel like there is hope. i feel like i want to help but i also want you to meet me
halfway. even the people i know personally who are out there selling drugs, i am like look, i want to work with you. we will give you a job opportunity where you can make just as much money. you know what? we are going to start cracking down. you can be out here selling drugs. that is a legal. i believe in criminal justice reform. i don't like locking up people because they are selling drugs. what choice do we have, especially if we give you an alternative. we have been concentrating and trying to get rid of of what we know as the distribution of drugs. and focus on trying to shine a light on this community and work with the people in this community and meet them where they are. you see a lot of people in the tenderloin who are just hanging out. they are just hanging out front of their building. they don't want to be cooped up in front of the building all day. they deserve to enjoy their neighborhood just as much is anyone else. there are a lot of challenges with this particular neighborhood. there always has been. since i have been mayor for the past six months, i have spent a considerable amount of my time
really dedicated to this particular area. in some spots we have been able to really have an impact and clean it up. we are hearing positive feedback from people who live there. the last thing i will say is part of it is we can spend all this money on her needle pick up , and are folks who are cleaning the streets and homeless individuals that we hire and provide housing. we can do all these great things. ultimately we have to take responsibility. this is what i say to a lot of residence. especially when i'm walking around in the neighborhood. specially when they throw something on the ground right in front of me. clean up after yourself. we have these pitstops were people can use a bathroom. this guy was urinating on a tree. i'm like dude the bathroom is not even a block away. we have to talk to one another and engage in conversation. to try to work with people.
ultimately it is our responsibility to take care of our communities and to hold one another accountable. that's what i learned growing up. even in public housing. you cleaned up after yourself and looked out for one another. it will require a lot of effort from the residence as well. >> thank you. the annual canvassing for people experiencing homelessness began last night in philadelphia. as we know it's difficult to conduct. it is less than ideal in a lot of ways. there are people who are not experiencing homelessness that are not captured in these numbers. philadelphia, the city reports of around 2700 children are experiencing homelessness.
in the philadelphia school district, they have a different number. they say the number is closer to 7200. that is a big disparity. how can philadelphia improve its count? >> the count, as of yesterday, was about 990. we have been as high as 1200 or 1300. these are people that are out on the street in the cold. we do get about 15,000 requests a year for some type of housing and security issues that people are going through. we don't count the count surfers. they are not captured in those numbers. young people and youth homelessness, 30 to 35 percent are lbgt. we have a number of organizations that are trying to address that issue. the numbers are hard because it varies based on the time of year. in the summertime the numbers are higher. as we get colder people are forced into shelters. as you mentioned earlier we did the hub of hope.
so people during the day can have a place to go and get a shower and wash their clothes and get a couple coffee or a meal. this is not pure science. when you are dealing with human beings. we try to get her arms around the numbers as best we can and addressed the issues in philadelphia. we have a less expensive housing stock. compared to san francisco or boston or washington or new york. our housing costs are lower. we tend to have more people indoors. either in shelter or in transitional housing or permanent housing. if you expand the shelter beds without expanding the other forms of traditional and permanent you wind up with the parking lot of shelter beds were people don't move on to the next level. i don't have an answer on how we determine the actual true count. other than county people we can
see on the street. i don't know the answer to your question. on how we can be more accurate. i don't know. all of this is difficult to scientifically deal with. you are dealing with human beings who are in different circumstances. are street numbers are pretty steady. we have had an increase of 400 or so because of the opioid issue. in kensington and ferri hill. we are doing our best to deal with it. >> in a moment we will open up
questions from the audience. i ask you to raise your hand and approach one of the microphones in the room when i call on you. i would like both of you to answer about your biggest immediate need. and whether that is in shelter beds, transitional supportive housing, permanent supportive housing or some other housing. >> i would say shelter beds. i know people say housing and we need more housing. we always need housing. we have to do a better job with housing production all over the state of california. 24 percent of the homeless population that exists in this country is in california. ultimately, because of our challenges with the opioid crisis and the people who are suffering from mental health we
need more shelter beds. in order to have a place for people to go no matter their conditions. that is a big need. i have a plan at another's thousand shelter beds throughout our city. we are working on that. we have rd done 338 since i have become mayor. i introduce legislation to get rid of the bureaucratic layers that make it difficult to get shelter built in different communities. because people say cleanup, and help the homeless. then you want to put a shelter in their neighborhood and it's like i don't want this in my neighborhood. we have to do better.
everyone has to share in the responsibility. the legislation i propose will give us the ability to not have to go to the same public process that make it difficult for us to make it happen. it will cut back on the time by around six months to do that.>> i agree with the mayor. however i think it's all of it. it's not just the shelter beds. it's the housing trust fund. we did 6000 housing repairs last year on roofs and heating systems. to keep people in their homes and they don't wind up homeless in the first place. we had a robust tax abatement that has been in place in philadelphia for the last 20 to 25 years. we decided to dedicate the new real estate tax revenue of those businesses and homes going back after 10 years of the tax a bait. that money will go to building affordable housing. it's $53 million this coming year. we've pledged another 18 to 20 million to general fund revenues to improve on that number. it is working with pha.
public housing authority and the state, organize federally funded housing agency. they do a ton of work in providing affordable housing for seniors and families. for veterans, and it is the whole opportunity to get people into safe housing. i don't think there is one area where we can concentrate without affecting the other areas we are dealing with. in the end, it seems a big cosmic picture. it is funding education. you don't have to fund schools in order to get a generation of people who were educated enough to get a job that sustains a family and buys taxes and their own home. we started off with a beverage tax. we were successful in passing that. we are seeing the benefits in kindergarten first grade and second grade. we created a school network.
so people have safe decent places to go through after school. it is a mishmash of stuff you need to address in order to get that young man or young adult from standing on the corner with a pistol in his belt selling drugs. as opposed to graduating high school and having a job where he doesn't have to put himself in harms way. he's going to be locked up or get killed or not be his potential. the reason that happens is we did not do a good job in educating that young person from the very beginning. >> i will open it up for questions. >> thank you for the work you are doing on this issue.
as mayors of major metropolitan cities folks experiencing homelessness don't stop at your city boarders. there's a lot of folks in the neighboring communities. what are you doing on a regional level to address this and empower the local smaller communities to come up with solutions that may look very different than what you were doing in the larger cities? >> in fact we are actually working on a regional approach and will be assigning a agreement that outlines a lot of things we could be doing in the bay area. specifically i think can be transferred to the entire state of california. i know this is the u.s. conference of mayors. we are really focusing on, even the smaller cities, we have been participating in a group called cossack.
which is bringing together a number of people in the advocacy community and business community and tech industry. elected officials, all over to talk about what are we going to do from a bay area perspective her housing. we put together a great plan which we will be signing and proposing to our state legislators to implement some of these policy decisions and allocate resources. so we all are doing a better job of building more housing as we increase the economy throughout the bay area. for example in the bay area during around 2015 when the economy was booming and all the tech folks were coming to the area. we were creating eight jobs for every one unit of housing. part of what we have to do is make sure it's not just san francisco that has shelter beds or san francisco that is building the housing. everyone has to take part.
that is why i pushed for a lot of changes to our state law that would've allowed something i did on a local level so we could build more housing. i supported a state bill, and the state bill did not make it out. a lot of folks protested and did not want to see that happen. it is working together and coming together. basically making the time to come up with the right plan. all the cities have their own things they were doing. by talking about what is working in a particular area what are some proposals that we could suggest to change state law and get more funding, in terms of the partnership. so even places like brisbane or some of the smaller cities, so they can do more and get more resources to do more. that is an important part of our ability to be able to get
to a better place eventually. it will not just be our city alone that gets there. it's working together and making the attempts to do so. >> despite philadelphia's poverty level, if we could just get our surrounding county neighbors to bear the burden of their own homeless folks and their own addicted folks as opposed to what has been legendary. try them to the closest transit stop and give them a token. a lot of our homeless in kensington are not even philadelphia residents. they are residents from bucks county and delray county. which are not taking on the load of helping us commence rate with their populations to pay for and address these issues. we have become the end place
where people wind up in addiction or homelessness because they know the services are there. if you're not providing services, people have nowhere to go to get those services other than philadelphia. we bear the additional burden. i don't have an answer to that. other than having the state capital provide more funding for all of us to deal with these problems. >> we will not get through everyone in line. >> my name is kim cook. i work in san francisco and i live in oakland. i spent five years in philadelphia. i was just visiting and hearing about what is happening in kensington. eight years ago kensington was the promise of redevelopment. very sorry to hear what has happened there. >> kensington is starting to gentrify in certain areas. gentrification is not a popular word with everybody. we have drug dealers or
prostitutes on the corner. across the street we have a new coffee shop with wi-fi. these young people who invest tend to go into pioneering situations. where they are not afraid to move into a neighborhood and make it better. the key for us is not having the rest of the people pushed out when the wave of new folks come. >> we are on a tight schedule. >> my question has to do with the references you made to both mental health and opioid addiction. and looking at the causal upstream services and what you are able to do in that arena? >> i will answer that by saying, for example specifically with mental illness i think it is time that this country has a real conversation about solutions to address the challenges that exist with those suffering from mental illness. we know in the case of what is
happening in our city, drug addiction that brings on the psychosis, that sometimes is not reversible. part of one of the things we are doing is legislation just passed from the state, in the state of california. which gives us another tool that would allow us to conserve an individual to get them help. to get them a stabilization bed. we want to get them treated and into permanent housing. it is a process and it is expensive. it has to be done. what you see is our prisons and jails are being used to basically, you see someone on the street and something happens and they get arrested or their taken to san francisco general. there's a 72 hour hold. there back on the streets in the same condition and that's
not helping anyone. ultimately changing how we approach this and be willing to make the hard decisions even though i know it's not popular to say you want to take away someone's rights to make decisions for themselves. at the same time we are talking about people who are not capable of making good healthy choices. the goal is not to completely institutionalize anyone. more importantly to get them to a place where they are able to be healthy and get the supportive services they need. in many instances we are talking about people who aren't in the condition to clean themselves. we are allowing them to just be because they have rights. that is some of the work we are doing around mental health in particular around san francisco. >> we are out of time. i want to get one last question in. from the mayor of minneapolis. who was able to usher through
an ambitious donor platform. >> i wanted to ask a question about an sheltered homelessness. we recently had a pretty significant homeless encampment that we were able to transition to a navigation center. there is a good chance they will pop up again. what you doing about homeless encampments? how do you work through the process? >> we emptied out a train track area which was below grade. where people were living for 20 or 30 years and injecting drugs and dying on the tracks. we had 12 or 14 people a year die of overdoses. they wanted us to remove those folks from there. once we did they win and camped at other places. we had other encampments in one particular neighborhood. they went under the train trestles. people are really helpful. they want to be nice. when you bring people tents and heaters and furniture, you are entrenching them even more in there.
we moved three encampments so far. we are moving the last one january 30/31st. there are rules we have to follow. we have to make sure we have a place for them to go. even if they refuse to go. we have to have treatment beds. we have been successful in removing three of those encampments. the fourth has the most people in the most crazy activity going on. we have to be more careful with this particular group. we have enough beds for them and places for them to go. on the last day of january we will move the last encampment. people from the suburbs who want to be helpful or who are representing church groups and they want to feed people on the street, it is christian and religious and wonderful. it is not helpful. it enables people to stay out there even longer. the same thing when you walk down the street and you want to
give a guy $10. that's the last thing you should do. donate the money that's going to a group that will help do something. >> thank you mayor fry and mayor kenny and mayor breed. i think all of you for joining us this morning. >> more now from the mayor's conference. as they focus on climate change and its impact on municipal government.
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