Advocates call for sure funding for SF’s seniors, disabled
SAN FRANCISCO — Community leaders and residents of San Francisco’s District 11, which has the largest senior population, the lowest per capita income and the most immigrants campaigned for assured services for seniors and people with disabilities through Proposition I, in a last-ditch rally held recently in front of Corpus Christi Catholic Church.
Speakers took turns presenting the needs of senior citizens 60 years old and above, persons with disabilities regardless of age, asking San Francisco voters to support Proposition I in tomorrow’s election.
Proposition I is a Charter amendment that would create a Dignity Fund to provide guaranteed funding for programs and services for seniors and adults with disabilities until June 30, 2037.
Among the services and programs the measure addresses are home- and community-based long-term care and support, food and nutrition, consumer and caregiver education and support, seniors/disabled community and service centers, legal services, health and wellness and targeted outreach.
Just one of many to vote on
San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim explained that Proposition I is just of the 25 local measures, aside from 17 state measures on the ballot voters must decide on when they troop to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
“There really is not much opposition to this measure, it’s just that we have 17 state measures and 25 local ballot measures for every voter to consider. We don’t want Proposition I to get lost in the shuffle,” Kim said.
“This measure was introduced to make sure that all of our seniors age in place in a healthy and strong way. It will be a portion in the budget that will hope to keep up with the growing senior population in the city. We have introduced a measure like this for children and youth before but this is the first one for the seniors. We seek to cover all seniors in the city,” Kim explained. “We have to highlight this issue for Latino and Filipino voters to make sure they know about it. It is important for our community to get it passed,” Kim stressed.
Filipino American candidate for Supervisor of District 11 Magdalena de Guzman emphasized that Proposition I will be very helpful for cash-trapped Filipino, Latino and African American seniors because it will provide systematic funding for all services.
Set aside funding for seniors
“Just like in 2007, consistent funding for children was provided through the public education enrichment fund measure and now we are introducing proposition I that would provide funding of at least $38 million for our seniors in the next 20 years without the need for additional taxes,” de Guzman explained.
“Our seniors deserve this for they themselves have little funds coming from social security and pensions. Even if they have housing benefits, they cannot sell that house to have money for themselves. They need services, they places to go when they are hungry, they should be provided transportation, etc.,” she added.
Another candidate for San Francisco District 11 Kimberly Alvarenga maintains that it is important for seniors to age with dignity.
“My mom is 87 years old and still lives here and she does want to be put in a home for seniors. And I know that rings true to our community. That is why Proposition I is very, very important for us. We have to make sure that every Asian, Filipino, Latino communities like every other elder communities have what they need to thrive in our city,” Alvarenga shared.
At present, the city’s Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) is responsible for planning, coordinating and advocating for services for seniors and adults with disabilities, while the City’s Commission on Aging oversees many of DAAS’ activities.
DAAS provides a range of programs and services for seniors and adults with disabilities, including in-home supportive services, nutrition and wellness programs, senior centers and activity centers and legal services.
It is also responsible for administering the Community Living Fund, which helps fund programs to assist individuals to age in their own homes, assisted living facilities or supportive housing.
The City determines the funding for DAAS’ programs and activities, including the Community Living Fund, but the city is not required to appropriate any specific annual amount for DAAS in the budget.
If passed, Proposition I would pave the way for the City to set aside monies from its General Fund each year to contribute to the Dignity Fund.
For the first year, the City would contribute at least $38 million, the same amount the City budgeted in fiscal year 2016–17 for services that could be funded in the future by the Dignity Fund; for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, the City would contribute at least $44 million.
For fiscal years from July 1, 2018, until June 30, 2027, the City would increase its contribution by $3 million each year, until it reaches $71 million a year. However, if the City is faced with a projected budget deficit exceeding $200 million, the City would not have to increase the contribution to this Fund.
Also, the City’s contribution to the Fund would equal the prior year’s contributions, adjusted for changes in the City’s revenues for fiscal years from July 1, 2027, until June 30, 2037.
Lolita Kintanar, 72, is vocal in her support for Proposition I. She pointed out that a quarter of San Franciscans are seniors who are 60 years old above, with close to half of them, and almost 70 percent of people with disabilities, among the city’s poorest, living below the federal poverty level.
“I am optimistic that Proposition I will pass. We have so many needs that should be addressed and we beg for funding every year. It will help a lot if this measure would be in place because money will be set side,” Kintanar said.
She added that some 60 organizations and over 100 coalitions support Proposition I.