San Francisco Mayor London Breed signed her first two-year budget on Wednesday which will focus on spending millions on combating homelessness, her top priority as mayor.
The $11 billion budget over the next two fiscal years will include $60 million in providing and expanding homeless services in The City and creating 430 new permanent supportive housing units, said Breed:
“This budget is a clear reflecting of our priorities. A clear demonstration on how we will invest our prosperity into making sure that there is equity and inclusion.”
The City will create four new navigation centers, including one center for expecting mothers and another center for transitional youth between the ages of 18 and 24.
Another $2 million will be spent to create two new access points where families struggling with homelessness with supportive services.
“These navigation centers go beyond the traditional shelters and offering intensive counseling services to help people break the cycle of addiction, poverty and homelessness.”
The budget also deals with helping those suffering from addiction on the streets. The City will fund a dedicated street team that will be able to give out a drug called buprenorphine that can help reduce the craving of opioids such as heroin.
Under the budget, the Fire Department will be able to staff a second medical response vehicle team to respond to services in the Tenderloin and Civic Center.
To keep San Francisco residents housed, the budget includes $5.8 million to fund Proposition F, which voters passed in the June 2018 election.
The ballot measure will help provide legal representation for tenants facing evictions in The city.
Additionally, Breed said the budget includes more than $800 million preserving and constructing 3,000 affordable housing units.
Another hot topic that has made its way through headlines and stories is the cleanliness of The City’s streets.
The City’s budget will include the hiring of 44 neighborhood street cleaners that will be split evenly among each supervisorial district.
Five new pit stops and extending the hours at five already existing pit stops is also part of the plan in keeping the streets clean to prevent people from using the streets as a restroom:
“I want people in San Francisco when they walk out the doors to feel the difference when they step outside.”
When residents do walk out from their doors, they may see more police officers on the streets. The budget calls for the hiring of 250 new police officers to address violent and property crimes.
Additionally, $1.7 million will go towards implementing the 172 police reforms recommended by former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.
The process for the budget was somewhat different this year because of the sudden passing of Mayor Ed Lee last December.
While Breed became the acting mayor after Lee’s death, she did not stay on, as the Board of Supervisors voted Supervisor Mark Farrell to become the interim mayor until the June election.
During his six months as mayor, Farrell unveiled his budget priorities, which included more funding for street cleaning, expanding efforts to pick up needles and syringes and funding for 911 dispatchers, all of which are funded in The City’s budget.
Supervisor Malia Cohen, chair of the board’s Budget and Finance Committee, led the way in budget discussions with city departments and fellow supervisors who sit on the committee.
Cohen said the budget process was more transparent and less “bruising” compared to other years.
Cohen said on the budget:
“This budget is supporting The City’s most vulnerable with compassion and dignity and also helps solve some of the problems we are facing.”
Breed concluded with her remarks before signing the budget by saying:
“Let’s make every dollar count. Let’s make every dollar matter for the lives of so many San Franciscans and I want to make sure again that we walk out the doors and we feel the difference for a better San Francisco.”