San Francisco: Chinese for Affirmative Action opposes San Francisco Proposition F, which mandates screening and treatment for drugs for individuals receiving public assistance. While we recognize the importance of addressing the city’s addiction crisis and substance abuse issues in our community, we believe that Proposition F is not the appropriate solution and could cause lasting harm to those receiving public benefits.
If passed, Prop F would cost as much as $1.4 million annually to run the enhanced screenings. It hopes to pay for the additional screening through the reallocation of funds from the disenrollment of clients who need this help to stay off the streets. Kicking people off of benefits will only contribute to the addiction crisis for the poorest of San Franciscans. It will worsen the drug crisis by taking away the basic services that keep those in need off the streets. It will waste the city’s resources better spent on other programs or services for San Francisco residents.
CAA’s Policy Manager, Anisha Hingorani, believes that “Proposition F fails to address the root causes of substance abuse and addiction and creates additional barriers for low-income communities to access public assistance. Instead of investing in comprehensive programs that provide access to rehabilitation and support services, Proposition F unfairly targets public assistance recipients and takes a punitive approach that overlooks the complex social, economic, and psychological factors contributing to drug addiction.”
Vinny Eng 黃永利, Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Programs at Safer Together says, “Prop F is a cynical measure that blames the most poor single adults in our community for the suffering that we all are demanding better solutions for. Instead of pointing fingers, we need to invest in solutions that help get community members connected to treatment by licensed health professionals. If passed, Prop F would create more homelessness and would make it less likely that our neighbors will seek help from County run programs when they need it the most.”
In order to receive public assistance, a person is already required to undergo an employability screening, answer questions on drug use, and be assessed for eligibility for Social Security and other programs. Those who work 12 hours a month receive benefits. Those who do not work risk losing their benefits. Here, public assistance means cash assistance along with housing stipends. Prop F will add another condition on top of the mandated 12 hours of employment per month before a person receives public benefits.
Under Prop F, a government agency staff would be trained to determine if there is “reasonable suspicion” to believe an individual is dependent on drugs. The public assistance recipient would be sent to a secondary screening and be required to undergo a mandatory treatment plan. This creates additional hurdles to receiving benefits which perpetuate the cycle of poverty by further marginalizing those who are struggling and need help.
CAA urges voters to reject Proposition F and support initiatives that promote compassion and holistic support for individuals grappling with addiction and poverty.
Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) was founded in 1969 to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. Today, CAA is a progressive voice in and on behalf of the broader Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial and social injustice. You can learn more about us at caasf.org.
“一起更安全”(Safer Together)组织的政策、宣传和项目主任黄永利(Vinny Eng)认为：“提案F是一项愤恨偏激的举措，我们大家渴望更好的解决方案，该提案却将这种迫切和痛苦归咎于我们社区中最贫困的人群。我们需要的不是责难，而是投资于解决方案，帮助社区成员获得来自有执照的医护人员的救治。如果提案F得以通过，将会造成更多的无家可归者，也会降低我们的邻居在最需要帮助的时候向郡县运营项目求助的可能性。”