Mayor Breed Signs Balanced Budget that Sets San Francisco on Path to Recovery
[ Article originally appeared in https://sfmayor.org ]
Mayor London N. Breed signed San Francisco’s $14 billion dollar budget a day after the Board of Supervisors voted its final approval on Tuesday. Mayor Breed was joined by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, members of the Board of Supervisors, and other City officials at a signing ceremony on the Mayor’s Balcony at San Francisco City Hall.
“This budget sets forth our priorities to deliver on the basic services our residents deserve, while also building towards a stronger future as we emerge from this pandemic,” said Mayor London Breed. “The significant investments in this budget will strengthen our economic recovery, restore public safety, support workers and families, and build on efforts to reduce homelessness and address behavioral health. I want to thank Budget Chair Supervisor Hillary Ronen for working collaboratively through this process.”
“Today the Mayor signed a budget that we believe reflects the collective values of the Board and balances the need to revitalize our downtown corridors with the imperative to support our neighborhoods and our most vulnerable residents and workers,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “We are also collectively proud that our City workers are getting the raise they so richly deserve after getting the City through the first worldwide pandemic of our lifetime. I want to thank my colleagues on the Budget and Appropriations Committee, the entire Board, the Mayor’s office, and so many community advocates for their work on this budget.”
Key priorities funded in the budget, include the following:
The budget invests $47.4 million over the two years to promote the City’s economic recovery. This includes new direct support for small businesses, as well as new events, activations, public space improvements, and marketing efforts to support areas that rely on workers, tourists, and other visitors. The funding proposal will also continue the City’s existing Ambassador programs located in areas like Mid-Market, Union Square, Downtown, South of Market, and along the Embarcadero.
The budget also includes $7.2 million over the two years to support an enhanced Tenderloin cleaning initiative, which will expand Public Works’ current cleaning operations in the area. In addition to enhanced cleaning efforts, the budget includes $4.4 million over the two years to support enforcement of the street vending ordinance, developed in partnership with the Board of Supervisors.
Public Safety and Alternatives to Policing
Since the beginning of COVID-19, the Police Department has experienced both a high rate of officer attrition and difficulty attracting new officers to the Department. To address this, the Budget funds a Police Hiring Plan to fill the City’s approximately 200 vacant police officer positions. The budget supports this plan by providing:
The City made significant investments during the last budget cycle to develop new alternatives to law enforcement response strategies. This budget maintains investments for the Street Crisis Response Teams (SCRT), Street Wellness Response Teams (SWRT), and Street Opioid Response Team (SORT). Further expanding on these investments, the budget invests in strengthening community-based outreach teams to improve the City’s response to non-emergency and non-medical calls for service that had been the responsibility of law enforcement previously. Enhancements include new Crisis Counselors, which will be embedded in the 9-1-1 Call Center and can help to respond to mental and behavioral health calls as part of the City’s services-first strategy.
Homelessness and Behavioral Health
The City has made bold new investments in homelessness and housing over the last several years through the Mayor’s Homelessness Recovery Plan, which has helped the City experience a 15% reduction in unsheltered homelessness, according to the latest point-in-time count.
Building on these efforts, the proposed budget includes funding for ongoing operations of 410 new adult shelter beds in a non-congregate or semi-congregate setting that were acquired in the current fiscal year, as well as continuing operations for three Shelter-in-Place (SIP) hotels that would otherwise close at the end of 2022. The proposed budget also continues funding for Safe Sleep sites in the Mission and Bayview districts, a 70-unit cabin site on Gough Street, and adds one-time funding to create a new 70-unit cabin site in the Mission.
The budget also invests in strategies to end homelessness and provide housing subsidies for transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) residents who disproportionally face barriers to housing, services, and employment. These investments fund a citywide strategic goal to end Transgender Homelessness in the next five years.
The budget includes funding to continue the implementation of key aspects of Mental Health SF. Expanding the City’s behavioral health treatment bed capacity remains a priority, and the budget includes $57.5 million over the two years for the operation of newly-acquired bed facilities. This funding will support the goal of reaching 400 beds, greatly improving access to these services for those who need them most.
Labor and Wage Equity
The most significant, ongoing investment in the upcoming two-year budget is a $240 million investment in the City’s public and non-profit workforce. This includes providing a 10 percent wage increase over the period of the two-year budget for non-sworn City workers. The budget also fully restores a 3 percent wage increase for the City’s sworn employee unions. It also increases wages for non-profit workers next fiscal year, in line with increases for public sector employees.
Additionally, the budget further invests in the wages of frontline staff in the City’s permanent supportive housing buildings, including case managers, janitors and desk clerks.
The budget also includes ongoing funding for early educator raises that were recently launched by the Mayor’s Office and the Office of Early Care and Education (OECE). This investment will maintain the $8,000 to $30,000 annual raises of the over 2,000 City-funded early educators, enabling educators to be more fairly paid for their crucial work, and also helping attract new, quality educators to the field.
Children, Youth, and Families
The budget includes nearly $25 million each year to support four recommendations from the Mayor’s Children and Family Recovery Plan, providing childcare vouchers for low-income families and transition-aged young adults with children; increased staffing, and parental support and training at Family Resource Centers; and the creation of an improved system to help families identify and sign up for services.
The budget aims to support overall child and family wellness through an annual $5 million investment. These funds will support UCSF hospital clinicians to work with community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide onsite support to children and youth, train and coach CBO staff to identify signs and symptoms of mental health needs, provide clinical support to CBO staff, and increase agency capacity to provide wellness and referral services.
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