San Francisco Becoming a ‘Sanctuary City’ for the Homeless

homelessWhen San Franciscans went to the polls on Nov. 6, they knew in advance what the consequences are likely to be if an initiative to tax corporations to fund services for the homeless was approved. Yet they passed it anyway.

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Nearly 61 percent voted for Proposition C, which imposes a tax on businesses in the city and county to raise as much as $300 million a year to “help homeless people secure permanent housing,” for “construction, rehabilitation, acquisition, and operation of permanent housing with supportive services,” and for “programs serving people who have recently become homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.”

They will find that, rather than reducing the number of homeless in San Francisco and helping those who remain on the streets, what is being called the biggest tax hike in city history will only increase their numbers and do little to nothing to improve their plight.

The approval of Proposition C stands in stark relief to the views of Mark Farrell, who was briefly San Francisco mayor. Earlier this year Farrell told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was weary of facilitating homelessness.

“Enough is enough. We have offered services time and again and gotten many off the street, but there is a resistant population that remains, and their tents have to go,” he said.

“We have moved as a city from a position of compassion to enabling (unacceptable) street behavior, and as mayor I don’t stand for that.”

The new mayor, London Breed, is left with the the urban equivalent of a cleanup on aisle five. She opposed Prop C because she knew there would be “the inevitable flight of headquarter companies — and jobs — from San Francisco.” She also acknowledged that the initiative will make the homeless problem worse. Yet due to the will of the voters, Breed is now saddled with it, and, according to local television news, is “working with City Attorney Dennis Herrera to validate voter-approved Proposition C in court so that the city can begin gathering funds from the measure.”

It will be a failing enterprise. Additional funds will do nothing.

If San Francisco is to begin moving the homeless off its streets, it needs to start with adding more housing. Much more. But expanding the housing stock isn’t an option when the costs of building are staggeringly steep, and policymakers have done little to alleviate the construction hurdles that have created the shortage.

In the meantime, the city will become a magnet for more homeless, having become a “sanctuary city” for them through Prop C. If residents think they have a problem now with people on the streets, just wait until even more homeless make their way there in search of the promise of housing that will never materialize.

San Francisco voters could have also looked up the road to Seattle for some insight before they approved Prop C. There the city council voted to tax businesses within the city limits $275 per employee to fund homeless programs, then turned around and repealed the tax less than a month later. Critics of the repeal said the council went back on the tax hike because members were bullied by big companies opposed to it. Or maybe they simply realized that the company line from Starbucks — “Together we must work to bring families inside, once and for all” — made more sense than a coercive and punitive program straight from a central planner’s desk that would worsen the homeless problem and hurt the city’s economy.

San Francisco has to do something about its homeless crisis. It is swimming in human feces and urine, awash in used hypodermic needles, and flooded with litter. Proposition C, which the San Francisco controller estimates will cost $200 million to $240 million a year in city GDP, and 725 to 875 jobs over 20 years, is far from being the answer. Given government’s poor record in eliminating homelessness, there’s little alternative but to turn to the private sector for help.

This article was originally published by the Pacific Research Institute 


  1. The solution is so obvious. Moonbeam plans on retiring to his 2400+ acre ranch in NorCal next year. I can’t think of a better place to establish a Kalifornia Homeless Center than on his ranch. After all, his release of criminals so he could fund his choo-choo is well known. It is the least he could do to help the State solve this problem.

  2. This has become a political football, an exercise in futility. The fine folk of San Frisco can house every homeless person today and tomorrow when they make their way down the street they will find as many homeless as they just “housed” the day before. P.T. Barnum said it best when he intoned ” There’s a sucker born every minute”. Mr. Barnum had apparently spent some time in the city by the bay.

  3. The Captive says

    The spread of diseases is always there but with more homeless and ILLEGALS THE bigger the spread and the unlucky residents are not grateful that the illegals–invaders have brought in these terrible diseases that were not here to begin with. Is this SNOWFLAKE LOGIC?

  4. Hip hip hurrah for the SF City leaders and voters. I think SF should start another agenda for the next election to send out messages throughout the nation that says: “Come one, come all”! Free, free, free! And Portland Seattle, Los Angeles, and Sacramento should also do the same. Pimp the 3 Great States. With all that said, I retire in 2 years and moving out of this God forsaken Great State of Cali. Soil and Green

  5. They just voted for more housing for the homeless. Go figure.
    Wait a minute….was the election results fixed? Good chance. Nothing else makes much sense. THE FIX IS IN. Period.

    Good chance we all have a huge problem we must reckon with. Can we do what the French do? Why not?

  6. Mr. Pickle says

    I think the Salt Water in the air is affecting voters in SF with this vote. YOU just committed $8,219.17 Per Day 365 days a year. The MAGNET you just voted for will do NOTHING but attract MORE for other areas…….. Business will leave, as the idiots who voted for this will have to FUND more later. Stupid is as Stupid does……. As the voters here have shown, they are very good at spending other peoples money, UNTIL it runs out……Just ask any socialist country. Just ask the people of France right now……………… Really? $300 Million for Poop Patrol???

  7. Spend whatever it takes to get bums off the street. Make life comfortable so bums, addicts, career criminals, fugitives, illegals, drug dealers, homos, lesbians, and other democrats will abandon cities all over the west and head for San Fan Crisco. It’s the right thing to do.

  8. Just another reason to go to or pass through San Francisco. They should change their tagline from “the city by the bay” to “the city in the bag.”

  9. What I see in San Francisco’s future is more homeless and less tax revenue from this new tax as the smart business’s will either relocate out of County or out of state! If they must relocate that cost would best be spent in an out of state move, better for them and the Nation.
    San Francisco and California is currently governed by the Progressive left, voted into office by those on entitlements, welfare, and even the illegals.
    You get what you deserve San Francisco, so buckle up, it is going to be a rough ride for you and I will relish the scene created by your ignorance of human nature.

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