A Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness

By Rev. Norman Fong

October 15, 2018

norman fong

This Sunday, the famous story of the rich man and the kingdom of god will be read and preached on in Chinatown and churches around the country. It’s a sad story because this rich man really wanted to go to heaven and he made the point that he had been good and faithful all his life, but Jesus said, One Thing You Need to do: Sell Your Possessions and Give the Money to the Poor and Come, Follow Me. Follow me. The rich guy could not give up his many possessions and so he sadly walked away.

Today, I’ll be preaching at my home church on this topic but I will share a modern day example of a rich person who has chosen to give up some of his wealth to help the homeless and how this one wealthy man is giving us help to address the issue of homelessness in a very big way!

Last Saturday, we had a Proposition C rally at Portsmouth Square. Prop C is a comprehensive plan to address the issue of the homelessness on the streets that everyone in the city is so frustrated with. We really need more city funds without taxing the average person, small business or property owners… the homeless on the street and the need for more affordable housing has been considered the number one issue in San Francisco and Proposition C would add a lot of money to address the issue. The tax would be from the big companies that have gross receipts over $50 million. We are talking about the super big companies.

prop c

prop c

For us in Chinatown, we have many families and seniors living in SROs that would also benefit from Prop C like the hundreds of families living in SROs who joined in this big rally at Portsmouth to tell the world that we need Proposition C. (see photos). Prop C could raise $300 million a year to address the need for housing and homeless programs. I thought everyone would support this action plan but I was disappointed to hear some politicians who I will not name chose to oppose Prop C. (I understand how politicians don’t want to risk alienating the big companies but had hoped Prop C could be seen as a real good strategy to help end homelessness in San Francisco and the average San Franciscan would not be taxed).

prop c

prop c

Then something happened this past week that surprised us all: Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce announced that he would support Proposition C even if it means adding more taxes to his own company! Wow! that announcement was so encouraging. He has committed up to $2 million to support the “C” campaign. We really have a chance to win this effort to address homelessness and build a lot more affordable housing! This is now the best chance we have for real action as Benioff himself said this past week.

Every now and then, good people surprise all! Like in the story of the rich man and Jesus… most of the rich cannot give up their wealth to help the poor or in this case – the homeless. I think Marc Benioff is going to make a big difference in making this comprehensive “Our City, Our Home” movement a reality! Thank you Marc for giving up your own self-interest by advocating for taxing the big companies, including your own company, to get the homeless off the streets and into the programs and housing they need. San Francisco with its great economy can definitely do much better. In light of the fact that President Trump lowered the corporate tax rate in San Francisco, we have the opportunity to get some of it back through Prop C to make San Francisco streets looking good and help those in need. By the way, Chinatown folks living in SROs will benefit too!

With the leadership and commitment of Salesforce and Marc Benioff willing to sacrifice it’s own interest to pave the way – we can win this together. We have the plan. We have a model corporation willing to do the right thing. We have residents in Chinatown to every neighborhood in San Francisco willing to promote Prop C. Wow! This is it! We can finally act in a powerful way to address a very tough issue that no one has been able to address thus far. Let’s do it everybody!

Thanks to Sing Tao Daily for endorsing Prop. C!

Originally published in Sing Tao Daily on October 14, 2018

Copyright © 1977-2021 Chinatown Community Development Center
Tel: (415) 984-1450 | E-mail: info@chinatowncdc.org