Earlier today I brought elected officials, City departments, and community leaders with me to Sunnydale, the City’s largest public housing site, to announce my two-year budget proposal for the City and County of San Francisco.
I wanted them to see the challenging conditions that too many people living in that neighborhood face. As someone who grew up in public housing, I’ve known these conditions. I don’t expect everyone to understand the challenges of public housing the way I do, or the way the residents of Sunnydale do, but I wanted them to put in the time to understand. I wanted them to see the work we still have to do.
The budget we have crafted is not just about the investments we are making going forward. It is also about upholding the commitments we have made in the past to communities like Sunnydale and to San Franciscans who have, for too long, been left behind.
For Sunnydale and other public housing communities, we failed to live up to those commitments for many years. But we’re finally changing that with our Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which has rehabilitated over 2,500 units of public housing, and through HOPE SF, which is revitalizing and transforming communities in Hunters View, Alice Griffith, Potrero, and Sunnydale.
My goals and priorities for this budget were equity and accountability. I want to make sure we are spending wisely and using our resources effectively to address the issues facing San Francisco, while reaching residents throughout our entire City.
That means rehabilitating our public housing units, preserving our affordable housing to stabilize tenants, and building more housing so that people can afford to live here. It means dedicating the resources to help our homeless residents into care and shelter, and opening up new behavioral health treatment and recovery beds to help those suffering from mental health and substance use issues.
It means ensuring that we are not only clean all of our neighborhoods, but invest in the public restrooms and trash cans that can help keep them clean in the first place. It means improving our public transportation so that Muni is reliable for anyone who needs to get to work or pick up their kids. It means supporting our small businesses to grow our local economy and ensure that our commercial corridors can thrive. And it means supporting programs so that the next generation of San Francisco has the skills and experience to succeed, no matter what they choose to do.
Together, we’ll build a stronger, more resilient San Francisco. A San Francisco for all.
Below is an overview of some of the new investments for our priority areas in the budget. You can read the full budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019–20 and FY 2020–21 here.
Increasing Housing Affordability
The two-year budget makes significant new investments in creating more housing and supporting low- and middle-income residents who are struggling to afford the high cost of housing in San Francisco. Over $187 million will go to the creation of new affordable housing, preservation of existing affordable units, and prevention of homelessness and displacement. When taken together with my proposal for a $600 million housing Affordable Housing Bond and the housing investments we have made so far, these investments will result in us identifying over $1 billion in new funding for affordable housing this year. We are adding rental subsidy programs for some of our most vulnerable residents, including seniors, low-income families, and transgender and gender non-conforming residents, and we are fully funding our Tenants Right to Counsel to make sure everyone has legal representation when threatened with evictions. Building and preserving housing, along with keeping people housed, are critical to making our city more affordable for all.
Providing Homelessness Services
To address the homelessness crisis, I’m proposing over $100 million in new funding over the next two years for homelessness services to bolster the City’s ability to help people off of the streets and into care and shelter. This includes investments in Rapid Rehousing programs, targeted homelessness prevention, and an expansion of Navigation Center and shelter beds to reach my goal of opening 1,000 new beds by the end of next year.
Responding to Critical Health Needs in our Community
The budget contains over $50 million to support the expansion of behavioral health and substance use treatment, as well as other health services to help get people the treatment they need. This funding will support over 100 additional behavioral health treatment and recovery beds at multiple different levels of treatment, including Dual Open Residential Treatment beds, Behavioral Health Respite beds, and Behavioral Health Assisted Living beds. These beds are in addition to the 100 that we have funded in the last year. This is the most significant expansion of behavioral health beds in years.
Cleaning San Francisco’s Streets
A new $11.9 million investment in programs to promote cleanliness on our streets will add 7 new staffed portable Pit Stop public toilets, 80 new BigBelly trash cans, and increased street cleaning. The funding will also expand service hours at existing Pit Stops across the City, and maintain the 2 Pit Stops and 20 BigBelly trash cans that opened during the current budget cycle in highly-trafficked commercial areas. In total, this would fund an increase of 100 trash cans and 9 Pit Stops since I took office.
The clean streets investments would also expand the Tenderloin Clean block sweeper program by adding an afternoon and evening shift seven days a week and continue the weekend expansion of the Tenderloin Clean and SOMA Clean programs. It would maintain the Downtown Streets Team, a workforce development initiative that employs formerly incarcerated, homeless, and other hard-to-employ individuals to do targeted street cleaning in the Mission and the Haight. Finally, it would add funding for the Chinatown Clean program, which will operate five days a week.
Creating Better Transportation
In order to improve transportation in San Francisco, the we are funding $130 million for road repairs and $30.7 million for vehicles and operations, so we have more trains and a better functioning system to reduce delays so people can get where they need to go quickly and efficiently. We are also adding $2.5 million for Vision Zero improvements over the next two years, which will help complete our plan to add 20 miles of new protected bike lanes over the next two years.
Investing in Small Businesses
The budget includes $9 million over two years to support small businesses. These investments include the expansion of the SF Shines Program, which provides grants for small businesses to fund storefront and interior improvements, as well as design services for issues like compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, funding would provide small business fee assistance, as well as a new Community Cornerstones program to help small businesses and non-profits occupy and stabilize ground floor retail spaces at affordable housing developments.
Creating Equitable Opportunities for Youth and Students
The budget continues my commitment to not only addressing San Francisco’s immediate problems, but also investing in the City’s future by providing $8 million for Opportunities for All, a youth workforce development program that connects high-school aged youth with paid job training and internship experiences. Additionally, it invests $10 million to retain talented educators at schools that serve historically underserved populations and experience high teacher turnover. We are also fully funding Free City College, so all San Franciscans have a path to higher education.