As Supervisor, I would make homelessness my top citywide concern. We would audit the $241 million we spend each year to learn what works and what doesn’t. In the private sector, performance audits are a useful tool for improvement and I am certain they can help government and our nonprofit providers improve services.

Programs for homeless veterans, youth and families would be my priority. No one who served our country should go without housing and it’s impossible for young people to learn if they are homeless, hungry and abandoned.

To save taxpayer funds, we would provide mental health and substance abuse treatment to the frequent flyers who cost the most to serve. Homelessness will be a temporary condition only if we treat people’s underlying health problems. With more than $1 billion a year in SF spending on healthcare, we have the resources. What we need now is clear focus.

Ben Matranga: Homelessness

Ben Matranga: Homelessness

At our core, though, we must treat every homeless person with respect and expect the same. These are brothers, sisters, sons and daughters living and literally dying on our streets. Aggressive street behavior is dangerous to both the homeless people and the public, so while we treat homeless people with respect, we must also demand that they act appropriately in our public spaces.

After earning my Masters’ from New York University, I spent a decade working in social equity investment. I have witnessed people in extreme poverty become self-sufficient through microenterprise, targeted investment and community support. With political will, I have faith that San Francisco can help our low-income residents break the cycle of poverty and live full and sustaining lives.