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    San Francisco’s $13.2 Billion Post-COVID Recovery Budget Package Passes

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors and community members on July 27 celebrated the passage of the city’s $13.2 billion post-COVID recovery budget package. The budget includes historic funding to target homelessness and housing stability, expands mental health services and community public safety initiatives, offers support for youth and families, and invests in Black, Latinx, API, and LGBTQ+ communities.

    “Last year was one of the hardest in the history of our city and the residents who were impacted, every single one of them, deserve a recovery budget that seriously and directly meets their needs. The implications of our budget this year and next year are massive and those hit hardest by the pandemic will be looking to us to provide them with the support they need to recover,” said Budget Chair Matt Haney. “This budget package includes robust, strategic investments and funds new, innovative initiatives for San Francisco’s health, safety, and economic development to build back better.” 

    The budget package directs millions to housing stability, homelessness prevention, and anti-displacement services. It includes funding for housing case management for older adults and adults with disabilities, additional staff positions to support case management and client advocacy, increasing housing and behavioral health access for community members facing barriers in navigating these systems, anti-eviction services for tenants in high needs districts, rapid rehousing rental subsidies for unhoused women experiencing sexual exploitation, permanent supportive housing for women, and district specific funds to help keep people housed.

    “This year our communities received a record-breaking 100 plus million dollars for community programs addressing our unhoused population, violence prevention, COVID economic recovery, rent relief, support for BIPOC organizations and the Black community, affordable housing, relief for small businesses, food insecurity, immigrant services and protections, free legal services for low income families, housing for TAY youth, LGBTQ services, and resources to assist our small businesses in their fight to come back even stronger. I’d like to personally thank Budget Chair, Supervisor Matt Haney, for his extremely hard work and commitment to making sure we passed a balanced budget that prioritizes meeting the needs of the communities that need us the most,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton.

    The Board’s budget package also includes an additional $15.8 million in broader investments in public safety through investments in community safety initiatives and alternative models of response. As part of an effort to fund alternatives to policing, the proposed budget expands Mental Health SF and compassionate alternative response teams, increases paramedic staffing, and funds major investments in community ambassadors and community-based safety plans across the city. To support residents who are impacted by crime in San Francisco, the budget includes funding for victim witness investigators, property crime advocates, an emergency victim fund, and pay equity for legal support through the District Attorney’s Office. As a combined response from the Public Defender’s Office, the package also supports the expansion of the pretrial release unit and equitable services clients.

    “As we entered into this year’s Budget Season the Board of Supervisors and the Budget and Appropriations Committee committed to San Franciscans that we would construct a budget that would meet the needs of the people most impacted COVID and uplift our city back to the vibrant place it was pre-pandemic. This budget will make it free to start a small business, deliver resources and support to struggling families, and continues on our promise to create safe alternatives to law enforcement in response to homeless and mental health calls,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

    An additional $5.2 million will be appropriated for youth and family support in an effort to address learning loss, the effects of a year of isolation, and continue supporting resource and referral organizations that are connecting families to lifelines in the city, money to recruit and hire Black early childcare educators, housing subsidies and violence prevention programs for transitional aged youth, support for Family Resource Centers serving high-need communities, food access that has become even more essential after COVID, and more.   

    “Our city is forever evolving. COVID-19 has drastically changed how we do business and during this crisis, we have been able to produce more than a decade’s worth of innovation and new programming with the relaxing of our government processes. This budget presented today represents our city’s investment in affordable housing, support and services for the unhoused, mentally ill and drug addicted, new innovation, expanded equity and inclusion, and programming for our most vulnerable seniors, immigrants and families,” said Budget Committee Vice Chair Ahsha Safai 

    This recovery package also adds another $6 million investment in Black, Latinx, and API communities on top of the commitments made in the Mayor’s budget. This includes SRO housing subsidies, rapid response network for immigrant communities, arts and culture development for BIPOC communities, and increased support for Black and Brown-led service providers. 

    Chinese serving organizations and community members have been collective and clear about what they need in this budget cycle to defend, elevate, and embrace their community to serve the most vulnerable API residents and this budget has attempted to reflect the full breadth of needs the community has. This budget adds funding to support the Chinatown Visitors Center and increases the support for helping to ensure that City Hall is clean and vibrant.

    “The Budget is our biggest response in this moment of reckoning on racism and violence against Asian Americans, by investing tens of millions to expand public safety language access, culturally responsive services, wraparound victim support, case management, safety network infrastructure, and cross-racial efforts. Public safety also means protecting our social safety net, like the millions for the City College Workforce Education and Recovery Program, youth programs, senior services, and direct services like those provided by AAPI-serving CBOs, in the communities they know best. I am proud of how this budget also invests deeply in other BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities, stabilizing our foundation so that San Francisco can recover in full force, together,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar.

    The Latinx community has been the most disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus, with the community seeing the highest rates of cases and deaths. It was through a herculean effort by community partners to come together and launch an unprecedented community initiative that families, frontline workers, and youths were provided the baseline level of support they needed. The complexity of needs that the community faces is far from over. Historic underfunding of family resources, affordable housing, arts and culture, and Latinx LGBTQ serving organizations and initiatives has exacerbated the harm this past year has brought onto the community. The investments put forth in the new budget are crucial to the vitality of San Francisco’s rich diversity and are a matter of urgency for the Latinx community. 

    Published on July 29, 2021