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San Francisco votes to confiscate homeless tents, fails to pass funding to house them

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Though largely symbolic, voters chose to ban tents on city streets

The results on Tuesday’s elections have dazed and confused many. As far as local politics go, the results of two housing measures still have some scratching their heads.

Proposition Q, which ostensibly makes it verboten for people to pitch tents on city sidewalks, won. The proposition was sparked by the bevy of tents that popped up along Division in SoMa and the Mission during and after Super Bowl 50.

Its author, Supervisor Mark Farrell, told the Chronicle, “Win or lose, it’s critically important that we have a policy conversation about our homeless situation in San Francisco, how we are going to make a real difference for those who are sleeping on our streets.”

Homeless advocates noted that such a law would be cruel considering San Francisco doesn’t have nearly enough housing or shelter beds for our city’s homeless population.

“[O]ur real loss won't be this hollow ban on tents,“ Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director for the Coalition on Homelessness, tells Curbed SF. “The real loss is Props J and S, which Prop Q proponents managed to kill with their vicious anti-homeless rhetoric.”

Voters turned down Proposition S, which was specifically homeless-centered and actually did get a huge majority of the votes, but of course failed anyway. Though seemingly ahead, Prop S needed two-thirds of the vote to pass, a requirement for certain tax-related laws in the city. It’s currently trailing at only 62 percent.

“You can't spend $700,000 demonizing homeless people and then expect voters to pay for solutions they have been told by Prop Q proponents already exist,” adds Friedenbach.