Guest Opinion: Yes on Proposition A

  • by Rafael Mandelman
  • Wednesday October 23, 2019
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Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. Photo: Rick Gerharter
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Earlier this year, our community rejoiced with the opening of the Marcy Adelman and Jeanette Gurevitch Community at 95 Laguna. This LGBT-welcoming affordable senior housing project provides safe, stable, and affordable homes to our friends and neighbors in District 8. This project was vitally needed, and it's great to read the stories and hear the testimonials from the new residents.

But we know that the need is so much greater. In fact, we could easily fill 10 more such developments in District 8. Ninety-five Laguna is an amazing development, but we still have a dire shortage of affordable housing, and we must keep pushing to build and preserve more affordable options in the Castro, Noe Valley, and throughout District 8.

We can continue our progress by supporting Proposition A on the November ballot.

Prop A is a historic investment in affordable housing. It provides $600 million — the largest affordable housing bond in San Francisco history — to upgrade and repair existing public housing, as well as create new housing for seniors, teachers, low-income families, and our most vulnerable residents.

We know the lack of affordable housing has changed San Francisco and our District 8 neighborhoods. Our community was once a haven for young LGBTQ people escaping to a queer Oz by the Bay. Today, many such young people struggle to meet rent, cannot even dream of affording their own home — and some end up on the street. At the same time, too many LGBTQ seniors and their friends — people who changed the world and made San Francisco the city it is today — live in fear of an eviction notice, terrified they'll have to spend their golden years somewhere else.

We cannot fix the housing affordability crisis overnight, but we can cast our ballots in November for Prop A to help more San Franciscans — and more District 8 residents — stay in the communities they love.

Critically, this ballot measure directs funding to areas like District 8 that have a history of eviction and displacement, but a lack of new affordable housing. And it also includes $150 million specifically for senior housing, with LGBT-welcoming developments getting priority.

When applications opened for the Marcy Adelman and Jeanette Gurevitch Community, more than 4,000 seniors applied for the 119 available units. I am so happy for the seniors who were able to move into their new homes, but I also know there are many more who wait for the day they too get the keys to new apartments.

I urge all San Franciscans, but especially District 8 residents, to support Prop A — and make that happy move-in day come sooner for more of our neighbors.

Rafael Mandelman is the only LGBT member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where he represents District 8.