San Francisco Mayor Wants to Spend $1B to Fight Homeless Epidemic 

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 05: A homeless man sleeps on the sidewalk near San Francisco City Hall on December 05, 2019 in San Francisco, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to release $650 million in emergency aid that will allocated to California cities and counties in an effort …
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Democrat San Francisco Mayor London Breed wants to spend $1 Billion to stem the homeless epidemic in the city.

According to the San Francisco city and county website “8,035 homeless individuals were counted in San Francisco’s 2019 point-in-time street and shelter count. This was an increase of more than 14 percent over the 2017 count.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported some sources say the number could be as high as 17,000:

At the same time, homelessness funding has also significantly increased. The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s budget has increased by 80% since it was created in 2016, to $364 million in the most recent fiscal year. Meanwhile, Prop. C., a 2018 ballot measure that taxes big businesses for homelessness services, is expected to raise $250 million to $300 million per year.

The mayor’s plan is part of the city’s $13.1 billion budget for the next fiscal year, in addition to the $300 million the city already spends annually on homelessness. The Chronicle reported:

Roughly 75 percent of Breed’s proposed homelessness investment comes from $800 million collected by Prop. C, which she did not support in 2018. Meanwhile, another 20 percent comes from local sources like the city’s general fund and a 2020 bond measure, and the remaining 5% comes one-time funding from the federal American Rescue Plan, which helped erase a massive, pandemic-induced budget deficit earlier this year. Under Breed’s proposal, the money would go toward initiatives like capping all permanent supportive housing rent at 30 percent of a resident’s income, funding two new recreational vehicle parking sites and continuing a 40-bed emergency shelter for families. 

The mayor also wants to create 6,000 housing placements by June 2022, which includes new permanent supportive housing units, adding more housing vouchers or buying people bus tickets out of town to go back to family and friends. The funding would also cover another 4,000 new housing placements by 2023, and help prevent potential homelessness and eviction for over 7,000 households.

Breed also wants to spend $30 million — a 36 percent increase from the previous budget — for mental health and drug treatment services.

The Chronicle interviewed Tomiquia Moss, the CEO of All Home, an advocacy group for the homeless, who said she is glad money is being spent on more than houses, including to help people with mental health.

“We’ve underinvested in this for decades,” Moss said. “What we actually need now to get out of the problem is exorbitant, but it doesn’t have to be that way if we start making the right types of investments.”

Breed called her homelessness proposal a “historic investment.”

“For those exhibiting harmful behavior, whether to themselves or to others, or those refusing assistance, we will use every tool we have to get them into treatment and services, to get them indoors,” Breed said. “We won’t accept people just staying on the streets when we have a place for them to go.”

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