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    Vote Yes on Prop A

    By Dr. Marcy Adelman–

    A critical measure on the November ballot will fund new affordable homes and housing for LGBTQ youth and seniors, veterans, low income working families, teachers, and first responders without raising taxes.

    Proposition A, co-sponsored by Mayor Breed and Board President Norman Yee, and unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors, is the largest affordable housing bond in city history.

    It won’t solve the housing crisis. But it will keep many low and middle-income residents from displacement. Over the next four years, San Francisco would use the funds to build some 2,800 affordable housing units, repair existing public housing, and provide subsidies to upgrade rental housing for low-income individuals and families.

    Prop A is a $600 million affordable housing bond and it needs a two-thirds vote to pass. Your vote really would help to secure affordable housing for thousands of San Franciscans.

    LGBTQ youth make up almost half of San Francisco’s homeless youth population. Leaving unsupportive families or abusive situations, they seek a safe harbor, acceptance, and a place where they can be themselves. But safe and affordable shelter in San Francisco’s inflated housing market is nearly impossible to find. And if they sleep on the streets or in shelters, LGBTQ youth are in harm’s way, exposed to the trauma of exploitation and harassment, at best.

    Young trans women are especially vulnerable. They are more likely to be targets of discrimination and violence. Prop A will provide safe, stable, and supportive housing for LGBTQ youth. With your vote, Prop A will pass.

    Another community in dire need of housing assistance in San Francisco consists of seniors, 30% of whom live in poverty, and struggle to access needed service and affordable housing. In comparison with their heterosexual peers, LGBTQ seniors face additional difficulties, such as diminished informal support networks and fewer housing options due to persistent discrimination.

    San Francisco LGBTQ seniors are twice as likely to be single and to live alone, and four times more likely not to have children than heterosexual older adults. These factors contribute to LGBTQ older adults having fewer resources and supports to help them age or to continue to age well in their home and in their community.

    LGBTQ seniors feel that they have few safe housing options. National and local studies have shown that the majority of LGBTQ older adults feel it would be unsafe to be “out” in senior care facilities. The data on housing and sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination supports these concerns. So even though a San Francisco ordinance, The LGBTQ Long Term Care Facility Bill of Rights (which was passed in March of 2015), made it illegal to discriminate in long term senior care facilities on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status, compliance has been less than optimal.

    To facilitate compliance, just this October, the Department of Aging in partnership with Openhouse (an LGBTQ serving nonprofit) rolled out a handbook to help long term senior care facilities comply with the legislation. The handbook is a clear and simple guide on how to implement the ordinance and how to make LGBTQ older adults and people with disabilities feel comfortable and respected. While this handbook is a much-welcomed tool to create more LGBTQ affirming senior housing and senior care facilities, the fact is that LGBTQ seniors have too few housing options.

    Prop A will help to build much-needed LGBTQ welcoming senior housing. But you have to vote yes on Prop A to ensure it passes.

    Vote YES on Prop A.

    Dr. Marcy Adelman, Co-Founder of the nonprofit Openhouse, oversees the Aging in Community column. She is a psychologist and LGBTQI longevity advocate and policy advisor. She serves on the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, California Commission on Aging, the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada, and the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee.