Why We’re Hopeful For Our Future Under President Biden
All In Communications Manager Luisa Montes shares her reaction to the 2020 election results and what that means for homeless solutions advocates. Luisa joined the team in August with a background in communications and services for youth experiencing homelessness.
(Left: All In Communications Manager Luisa meets then-Senator Kamala Harris at a get-out-the-vote rally in 2020.)
Last Saturday, I exhaled for what felt like the first time since Nov. 9, 2016. As a woman of color and daughter of immigrant parents, the last four years have felt like a firehose of soul-crushing moments. The tenor of our country seemed to reject the notion that we all have a stake in the well-being of our neighbors and the success of our community.
In my experience, nowhere is this sentiment more applicable than ending homelessness. Growing up in the Bay Area, I was no stranger to seeing people experiencing homelessness on our streets. Working with different nonprofits made me realize that these individuals were victims of circumstances beyond their control and not to blame for their homeless experience. Not everyone shares that belief, though, so being part of the All In team gives me a chance to tell this important story and work toward solutions that make San Francisco a place where everyone can live.
“At the same time, I know this change in leadership is not a magic wand. We still have plenty of work to do with issues of racial justice and economic stability. We still need to get and stay involved at a local level and ensure that we are doing all we can to move the needle on homelessness in our own community.”
-Luisa Montes, All In Communications Manager
Leading the Way
Seeing Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris accept their roles as President-elect and Vice-President-elect, respectively, was emotional and gratifying – particularly to witness the history in our new vice president. It also gave me hope we will finally see policies that embrace homelessness as a public health issue and housing as a human right:
- COVID-19 – the pandemic is far from over, and a coordinated effort to control it will benefit those who are especially vulnerable to contracting the virus. This takes on a greater sense of urgency as the City of San Francisco begins to move people out of the Shelter in Place hotels opened in response to COVID-19.
- Economic Recovery – the proposed recovery plan will pave the way for higher wages and better benefits that keep individuals from experiencing homelessness to begin with. For a high-cost region like the Bay Area, policies that foster economic mobility and housing stability are crucial.
- Racial Equity – The Biden-Harris Administration champions affordable housing for Black, Brown and Native families. In San Francisco, we know Black individuals are overrepresented in the homeless population as a result of long-held, discriminatory housing policies and measures to rectify this injustice are overdue.
Our Road Ahead
At the same time, I know this change in leadership is not a magic wand. We still have plenty of work to do with issues of racial justice and economic stability. We still need to get and stay involved at a local level and ensure that we are doing all we can to move the needle on homelessness in our own community. The passage of Propositions A and F in particular opens the door for even more opportunities to get individuals and families into housing and off the street, out of their cars, and out of shelters.
We have an empathetic and experienced team in the White House. The City has the funding and the publicly stated commitments to house our unhoused neighbors, and we can’t let people experiencing homelessness suffer any longer than they already have. It is up to us to meet this moment together.