On a recent trip to San Francisco, Bevan Dufty, the city's Director of HOPE, invited me to a hearing on family homelessness. The hearing was about adding a residency requirement for families to be able to access services. This was the second time this year I was in San Francisco's City Hall listening to Board of Supervisors engage on the issues of homelessness, and both times Supervisor Jane Kim impressed me with her knowledge and compassion.
Without going into the politics of this particular hearing, one thing Supervisor Kim said that I wish all communities would listen to is "we need to make it easier for homeless people to access services, not harder!" Supervisor Kim also went on to say that we need to spend our energies on solutions to ending homelessness. I actually found it hard a few times not to applaud after Supervisor Kim spoke.
I think what impresses me the most about Supervisor Kim is she really speaks for her people, and being that the Tenderloin is in her district, she is representing thousands of people in some stage of homelessness and poverty. I've visited over 200 cities in the last 4 years and Supervisor Kim is the very first politician (that I know of) that addresses how the homeless services system is nearly impossible to navigate.
I started off this video interview by thanking Supervisor Kim for sleeping in a homeless shelter one night last year. Supervisor Kim actually went through the actual process that a homeless person would have to go through to have a place inside for the night. That intake process is often lengthy and more painful than a root canal. At the time, Supervisor Kim was acting mayor, which is even more impressive. For years now I have invited members of Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority executive team and governing commission to spend a night on Skid Row, and I honestly believe that every politician should have experiences that will show the realities of street life and our broken support systems.
I am truly honored that Supervisor Kim took a moment out of her busy day to record this interview. Supervisor Kim mentions how she was a little taken back by all the seniors now facing homelessness, and we talked a little about the "Silver Tsunami" headed our way. We also talked about how the city is actively working on preventing and ending homelessness. Please watch this important interview and forward to your network. We need more people with influence like Supervisor Kim helping those with little influence!
Meet some of the people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco here.