Throughout BOSS’s history, we have been committed to encouraging and supporting people to share their stories and make their views known – especially on matters related to homelessness and poverty, and at election time. This year is no different. With the support of a Regional Equity grant from The San Francisco Foundation, BOSS partnered with local community groups (Black Women Organized for Political Action and their Training Institute for Neighborhood Enrichment, Roots Community Health Center, South Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Asian Health Services) to conduct public education on the issue of affordable housing, and to help get out the vote with voter registration efforts.
It is crucial that people in poverty and other crises make their voices heard when policy makers are designing solutions that are supposed to help them. According to a 2014 study income and voter turnout go hand-in-hand. In the 2008 election over 98% of the top 1% of earners in America Voted, compared to less than half of people earning less than $10,000 per year.
The goal of TSFF-funded activities is to increase awareness on affordable housing issues, educate people about the issues related to housing, health, justice and equity, and to encourage people, specifically the historically disenfranchised, to recognize their importance in the political process and to participate in the election by voting.
In 2008, during the Obama/McCain election cycle, America experienced an unprecedented voter turnout of over 62%, a percentage not seen in 150+ years. In the following 2012 election, apathy once again took hold and voter turnout tumbled back down to roughly 57%.
Local ballot measures that will have a direct affect on the homeless and poor in our communities include an Alameda County housing bond measure (Measure 1A) and proposed laws in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties that directly impact services to people without housing.
If you need information about your voting place and precinct, you can get that information quickly and easily online. For more information about the issues there are several places for accurate, impartial reporting. For California you can go to the Legislative Analyst’s website. For local issues, search for your city and/or county’s Registrar’s Office.
Whatever your schedule, whatever your socio-economic status, whatever your political leanings — Just Vote. It is your voice. Don’t silence it.