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In the backdrop of San Francisco’s Chinatown, Mayor London Breed shared her two-year budget proposal, which would spend more than $1 billion for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Among other things, the mayor’s proposal tackles homelessness and invests in mental health and substance abuse programs.

Breed’s budget includes funding for two safe parking sites, continues funding for 40 shelter beds, funds 6,000 housing placements over the next two years and further funds eviction protection in 7,300 households affected by the Covid-19 pandemic most at risk of homelessness. Additionally, the mayor has proposed a rent cap based on specific income criteria.

At at a press conference held at the Willie ‘Woo Woo’ Wong Playground, Breed said:

“Yes, this is a historic investment for our city, but we have to be honest with ourselves. If we’re going to see change on our streets, it takes more than money. We also have to have a will to make change.”

The mayor also wants to spend $300 million on mental health and substance abuse programs, with funding for new and existing street crisis teams that respond to non-violent calls without police presence.

Supervisor Matt Haney, who chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee, was happy to hear the mayor address several issues he believes are important — homelessness, drug recovery programs and helping impacted communities recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Haney told SFBay that he heard a many Breed spoke about during her speech were important to him, including .

Vowing to work with Breed and fellow board members as the process makes its way through the Board of Supervisors, beginning with the budget committee, he said:

“Now we got to look to make sure that the things that she wants to be funded are the most impactful priorities and we’re not just recycling the same policies that aren’t having the biggest impact.”

Haney also wants to feel out the mayor’s willingness to fund free Muni for all youth program. Breed pledged last week to veto a supervisor-approved $12.5 million pilot program that would have given all Muni passengers a free ride for three months.

He said:

“I hope we can get an agreement on that.”

The committee will hold a series of public hearings before the full board votes and returns the budget around Aug. 1 for the mayor to sign.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay Mayor London Breed announced her two-year budget at a press conference in Chinatown in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety

The mayor addressed attacks against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community with proposed funding to expand community teams in targeted neighborhood corridors with large AAPI populations.

She would also continue funding senior and disabled adults escort service to improve safety on city streets.

Noting that the San Francisco Police Department loses about 80 officers a year due to retirement and various other reasons, two police academy classes have been included in the budget proposal in order to keep SFPD resources stable.

She said:

“Keeping our city safe also does require law enforcement. That means making sure we have officers on our streets, walking the beat and responding to crimes.”

Economic Recovery and Covid-19 Response

Another $477 million over the next two years would be spent to support The City’s support its response to Covid-19 and economic recovery.

Several initiatives, totaling $25.6 million, aimed at revitalizing the downtown area were introduced over the past two weeks, including new ambassador programs in the Mid-Market and downtown areas and $4.6 million in funding to help reduce Moscone Center rental costs.

Recently, Breed announced a plant to spend $6 million for a Women and Families First Initiative, which would provide job training for 300 hundred women and childcare tuition credits for about 800 low-income children.

Also included in her budget is a guaranteed income pilot program for up to 130 transgender or gender non-conforming city residents. The program would provide $1,000 a month for six months or up to one year.

A majority of the $477 million will go toward The City’s ongoing Covid-19 response efforts, including testing, vaccination, homeless shelter and food security programs.

Nearly 80 percent of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 66 percent residents have completed receiving their vaccine series.

Breed said:

“I can finally declare with pride and confidence that we are literally out of the woods, but keep your mask on.”

   

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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