Last Month at HANC: March Meet Sounds Positive Note for Homeless Youth

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With presentations by Leah Filler of Lava Mae and Christian Calinsky of Taking It to the Streets (T2S), and additional input from Shira Noel, Homeless Youth Alliance, and Matt Bartek of Larkin Street Youth Services, those braving a rainy evening to attend the March general meeting got a real education on some services that are making a difference for homeless youth in our neighborhood.

Lava Mae is a bus-based movable shower/bathroom facility built into old MUNI buses. The first destination close to the Haight Ashbury is to be on the sidewalk outside the DMV building on Baker Street across from the Panhandle. It should begin operation in a couple of weeks, with a once-a-week schedule. The buses are staffed, to monitor usage, with each user allowed 15-20 minutes of private time to bathe. Each shower unit (there are two on each bus) is serviced with current technological appliances (like electronic water managers) and is cleaned thoroughly after each use. For more information on the program, visit Lava Mae’s website at and consider donating to this innovative and impressive effort.


January at HANC: Members Oppose Mayor Lee’s “Developers s Density Plan” and Support Community Planning

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By Calvin Welch, Housing and Land Use Member, HANC Board

Some 90 folks turned out at HANC’s January meeting on Mayor Lee’s proposed (and wildly misnamed) “Affordable Housing Density Program.”  They heard Dean Preston and Gus Hernandez of the “Affordable Divisadero” Coalition (of which HANC is a member) present the “Affordable Divis Plan,” a community based alternative to Supervisor Breed's massive “up zoning” of Divisadero street last year. Unlike Breed's original plan, the community plan couples density increases with a requirement of 50% of the units being affordable to residents earning area median income and below. The plan also calls for developers paying for MUNI service and other infrastructural costs to meet the demand they generate as well as a ban on demolition of rent controlled units and the displacement of existing merchants.


Last Month at HANC: Effective Approaches to Homelessness

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At our November 12th general meeting, HANC once again delivered on its promise to provide information you don’t get anywhere else.  Bevan Dufty described how his job as “Homeless Czar” had helped change the way he saw homeless people.  He described successes with the Navigation Center, but reminded us that it could only help a small number of the over 7,500 (combined general and supplemental youth count) homeless people in San Francisco.  The Navigation Center is a short-term solution, and most have transitioned out and remain housed.  Because of its success, the City plans for more Navigation Centers, but has not determined where they will be or how they will be funded.

Jennifer Friedenbach spoke about how police responses to homelessness cannot address the problem.  The City Jail has replaced General Hospital as housing the most mentally ill homeless.  Even without mental issues, homeless people are stressed about having to do in public--and possibly being cited or arrested—what housed people are able to do privately:  sit, sleep, use the bathroom, wash up.  Both speakers agreed that Pit Stops (staffed portable toilets, which are moved and cleaned every night) and Lava Mae (staffed portable showers) have been positive steps.  Taking It To the Streets has helped some of our “street kids” with housing and employment, and has support from all sides.

HANC members and other neighbors addressed questions to the speakers.   Although there were disagreements, dialogue was respectful and constructive.  At the end of the discussion, HANC members voted to support a Navigation Center in our neighborhood.

Earlier in the evening, HANC members elected the HANC Board for the next year.  The new Board list can be found at

September at HANC: A Visit With Captain Sanford

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By Bruce Wolfe, HANC Vice President

At our September 10th meeting, Captain John Sanford, Jr., the new Park Station Commanding Officer, joined us. A calm guy presented his vision of policing for our neighborhood. He explained the recent roadway traps focusing on bicycle riders, that got plenty of press, was to help protect pedestrians and reduce dangerous altercations with motorists. He received a lot of complaints about bikers and since there is law about bike riding on open roadways, specifically, rolling stops at traffic control devices and signage, he felt it prudent to monitor and then act if the issue was credible. It appeared it was.


A Summary of HANC's Series on the "Sharing Economy"

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By:  Tes Welborn, HANC Board

In April's meeting, we learned that the “sharing economy” encompasses a wide range of non-profit, barter, cooperative and for profit structures. All are based on mobile networks and social networks, tech plus trust, and facilitated by the economic downturn. However, the for-profit sector is the one that is booming.

Many have criticized the for-profit sector of the sharing economy, writing that sharing economy businesses "extract" profits from their given sector by "successfully [making] an end run around the existing costs of doing business..." New York Magazine wrote that sharing economy innovations have made a difference, but that the for-profit sector of the sharing economy has succeeded in large part because the real economy has been struggling. "Lots of people are trying to fill holes in their income by monetizing their stuff and their labor in creative ways..." The magazine writes that "In almost every case, what compels people to open up their homes and cars to complete strangers is money, not trust...But what's getting them to the threshold in the first place is a damaged economy, and harmful public policy that has forced millions of people to look to odd jobs for sustenance."

 If a business normally had, say, a 10% profit margin, And they could save 30% of labor costs by NOT having employees, and NOT having to build or buy buildings, or a fleet of cars, their profit margin could be 40% or more! Investors see the failure of government to aid us, our cities and our communities, and are eager to help us get by --But not by giving us JOBS !!

In May's meeting, we learned that while Short-Term Tourist Rentals are enjoyed by many, these Tourist Rentals are definitely reducing affordable, rent-controlled housing in both the Haight and San Francisco. Up to 30% of “available housing” is being used for full-time tourist rentals! Thousands of illegal STRs cannot be made legal under both current law and proposed law, and they supply most of Airbnb's and all of VRBO's income.  Effective local regulation can only be achieved, HANC believes, by voting for Proposition F this November.


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