Mayor Lee's Proposed Budget Focuses on Reducing Harm on Our Streets While Investing in Neighborhoods
Two-Year Budget Plans for Uncertain Future as Federal Government Threatens Major Cuts
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today presented his two-year balanced budget, proposing a $10 billion outline for Fiscal Year 2017-18 and a $10 billion outline for Fiscal Year 2018-19. The two-year budget focuses new investments on reducing harm on our streets and homelessness, while maintaining historic funding levels for parks, street repaving and other infrastructure projects.
The budget preserves ongoing investments in housing, transportation, education, and the arts as well neighborhoods and small businesses while constraining government growth.
“Since the Great Recession, we have enjoyed the largest period of economic growth in the City’s history. But with that economic growth comes expectations that our neighborhoods and streets offer an experience that is safe and clean,” said Mayor Lee. “The issues plaguing our streets are undeniable. As we grapple with a national opiate crisis on our City streets we need commitment, flexibility and adaptation to meet this challenge. Today we are investing new resources to address the behavioral health issues and heartbreaking evidence of addiction we witness on our streets daily.”
“Support for our most vulnerable populations, particularly funding for homeless services, housing, and affordable healthcare is more important than ever as we face serious federal funding risks, and I appreciate the Mayor and his budget team for presenting a balanced budget that reflects these goals,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. “Achieving a balanced budget, preparing for federal uncertainty, all while ensuring critical ongoing services is an enormous effort, and I look forward to working with the my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to strengthen and approve a City budget that reflects the needs and values of San Franciscans."
Reducing Harm on Our Streets
The City will build on the existing services and resources, while also deploying new strategies to reduce harm on our streets. Additional outreach teams will be activated specifically aimed to help individuals with behavioral health issues. These teams will proactively intervene to keep individuals from openly using drugs on our sidewalks, and connect individuals with mental health challenges with services.
There will be an expansion of hours at the Harm Reduction Center and a new 24/7 resource center will open, giving those struggling on the streets a place to access services, medical care and respite from the streets.
The first Navigation Center for individuals experiencing mental health issues and addiction will open this year. And to help the most vulnerable people suffering from severe mental illness on our streets we will create more conservatorship beds, ending the revolving door of jail and hospital.
During the next fiscal year, the number of beds at Navigation Centers will increase by 150 percent, providing more opportunities to move residents off the streets and out of encampments and into safe, stable living situations. A national model, Navigation Centers provide clients with access to intensive case management, critical service connection to healthcare, entitlement benefits, and drug treatment programs. Over 70 percent of residents who stay in Navigation Centers successfully transitioned into permanent housing, safe temporary placements or reunited with family members.
The Mayor has also allocated $6 million over the next two years for the creation of a new Navigation Center and asked for the help of the Board of Supervisors to identify suitable sites within their districts.
In addition to new Navigation Centers, there are further investments in shelters, supportive housing, and permanent housing exits, and millions allocated for rental subsidies.
The budget also includes funding for family, youth, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and veteran homelessness programs. The Mayor will be adding more than $4 million to expand our City’s homeless childcare program, ensuring that every eligible child under the age of five receive free quality care. In addition, the proposed budget includes $2 million to add 30 new shelter beds for families experiencing homelessness.
New investments for transitional aged youth, many of whom seek refuge in San Francisco to live a life of openness and inclusion, include adding hours to drop-in centers and rental subsidies. Funds will also be added to bolster youth outreach teams, which will help move these young adults off the streets and into homes and connect them to supportive services.
The Mayor will continue to fund supportive housing units for veterans, with the ultimate goal of ending chronic veterans’ homelessness in San Francisco by the end of this year. With the help of philanthropic partners, Mayor Lee has pledged to end chronic family homelessness in San Francisco by 2019, and significantly reduce overall chronic homelessness in the city.
Maintaining Quality of Life in Neighborhoods
The Mayor’s two-year budget maintains historic levels of investment for essential city infrastructure, such as streets, roads, parks, community centers and sidewalks.
Nearly $90 million will be added for street resurfacing projects, such as pothole repair, repaving, striping and other safety measures to improve the City’s roads. During the past five years, nearly 3,900 blocks have been resurfaced in San Francisco—a strategic investment that has led to safer and smoother roads. This year’s budget continues that commitment.
The budget will include $84 million in capital projects for the Recreation and Park Department, maintaining record levels of investment in the City’s parks and open spaces. The $84 million investment in capital projects represents an 81 percent increase from 2015 levels. San Francisco recently became the first city in the country to have every resident live within a 10-minute walk of an open space, and this budget will ensure that those high standards are sustained.
Overall, the Capital Budget—which funds many crucial infrastructure improvement and maintenance projects—will amount to $530 million—a level of funding that is seven times higher than when the Mayor first took office. It will also create 4,400 jobs in San Francisco.
In addition to those long-term commitments, the budget will expand the Mayor’s popular Fix-It initiative, a pilot program started last year that focuses on quality of life concerns in our neighborhood corridors. By quadrupling the efforts of the Fix-It Team, 20 new neighborhood corridors, representing every supervisorial and police district in San Francisco, will have a focus on issues such as graffiti, overgrown trees, dirty roads, poor lighting and cracked sidewalks.
To complement the Fix-It Teams, we are increasing the street cleaning budget by $3.5 million over the next two years. We will have a renewed focus on cleaning streets plagued by tent encampments and dirty needles.
Through continued funding, the City Charter mandated police staffing levels will be met, enabling SFPD to meet community policing goals and focus on reducing neighborhood crimes.
Ensuring Financial Sustainability
The new federal administration has supported policies that are directly opposed to San Francisco values, fostering volatility and uncertainty. And the recently released draft of the federal budget calls for reductions to many of the services and programs that serve our most vulnerable populations. It has called for cuts in housing and social safety nets programs, and healthcare while making significant increases in immigration enforcement resources.
Mayor Lee’s budget expands services for those most in need and ensures we continue to have a thriving nonprofit sector, expands mental health services and medical care and seeks to keep families together by funding legal services and rapid response for our immigrant community.
The Mayor’s budget provides the vital services that residents rely upon, and have rightfully come to expect while maintaining fiscal discipline.
This budget further bolsters the City’s strong fiscal footing to hedge against instability by creating a $50 million Affordable Care Act reserve and a $10 million State and Federal Impacts reserve, demonstrating that we can both make strategic investments now and save for the future.
The City Charter requires the Mayor submit a balanced budget proposal by the first working day in June. To deliver this two-year consensus budget proposal, Mayor Lee worked with the Board of Supervisors and heard directly from community leaders and residents, and met with hundreds of residents, nonprofit organizations, City Commissioners, labor organizations, business owners, and advocates to discuss priorities and address concerns.