Mayor London Breed Announces Detailed Proposal to Fund Affordable Housing and Programs for Homelessness, Shelter, and Behavioral Health
Mayor Breed seeks to spend recently announced windfall on programs that address the City’s pressing issues
San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed today unveiled a detailed proposal to direct the $181 million in available funding from the City’s recently announced windfall to programs for homelessness, affordable housing, behavioral health, and street cleanliness.
The Mayor’s proposal would support the creation of over 900 new units of affordable housing, preserve and improve over 1,000 units of existing affordable housing, fund the expansion of 300 new spaces in homeless shelters and Navigation Centers, and open 86 behavioral health and substance abuse hospital beds.
“Opportunities like this are rare, which is why it is so important that we make responsible investments that will make an immediate impact in helping our homeless population into shelter, creating new affordable housing for our low-income residents, and keeping our streets clean,” said Mayor Breed. “The voters have been very clear that this is their top priority. The majority of the total windfall money is already being distributed to important programs like transportation and schools. I think we should take advantage of this chance to address the housing and homelessness crisis we see every day.”
Mayor Breed’s legislation, which is co-sponsored by Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen, would direct $90.5 million for affordable housing programs to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. This funding would provide $42 million to fund the construction of a homeless housing site and $14 million for the acquisition of one or more future 100% affordable housing sites. Approximately $20 million would fund the expansion of the Small Sites Program, which helps residents avoid displacement by removing properties from the speculative market and converting them to permanently affordable housing. The Sunnydale and Potrero public housing sites would receive $9 million in capital upgrades, and the remaining $6 million would fund the predevelopment of other affordable housing projects. All of the affordable housing investments are one-time expenses.
The legislation would direct the other $90.5 million to fund homelessness, behavioral health, and street cleanliness programs for a four-year time period. A total of approximately $56 million would be directed to temporary shelter and treatment programs:
- $11 million going to expand existing Navigation Centers by over 100 beds;
- $9 million going to open 14 additional beds at San Francisco Healing Center at St. Mary’s Hospital;
- $10 million to open 72 new substance use recovery beds; and
- $27 million to support 200 new beds in a Shelter Access For Everyone (SAFE) emergency homeless shelter, which will incorporate elements of San Francisco’s Navigation Center model in larger settings.
In addition to shelters, $30 million will be allocated to add approximately 300 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals. In order to further address street cleanliness, $4 million will be allocated to the expansion of high need neighborhood cleaning and the expansion of the Pit Stop Program, which provides staffed public restrooms. This funding will support programming and operations for four years, which is intended to serve as a bridge until more sustainable funding sources can be secured.
A total of approximately $234 million of the $415 million windfall will be allocated to specific programs and reserves. This includes $38 million for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, $35 million for San Francisco Unified School District, $19 million for children and family programming, $9 million for the Public Library, and $2 million for street tree maintenance.
There is no guarantee that the windfall being recognized will continue in future years, which is why Mayor Breed is prioritizing one-time expenses or programs that can serve as a bridge to more sustainable funding. Under state law, property taxes are distributed by the Controller to the City, school district, and other taxing entities within its borders, with a unique formula for each county. In 1992 and 1993, as a means of balancing the State budget, the State directed all counties to create an Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) and shift local property tax revenue to the fund. In San Francisco, 25% of collections from base property tax rate is allocated to ERAF.
As the property tax roll has grown by 20% in the last two years, the revenue has increased funding for ERAF to a level that exceeds the City’s funding obligation, and as a result the excess property tax contributions will be returned to the City. The funding total is approximately $415 million for Fiscal Years 2017-18 and 2018-2019. Approximately $78 million of this funding must be allocated to various baselines and approximately $156 million must go to Rainy Day Reserves, leaving approximately $181 million available for other purposes.
“We are in the middle of a mental health and addiction crisis in our country, our city, and on our streets,” said Dr. Vitka Eisen, President of CEO of HealthRIGHT 360. “We must address this crisis by providing those most in need with the health services that they need and the housing options that they deserve. We must help get people off the street and into a healthier, more prosperous, and more fulfilling future. The investments proposed today make it clear that the Mayor understands the priorities of our residents, and I want to thank her for making such a promising investment in the health of our city.”
“We have the opportunity to make real and transformative investments with these resources in addressing our housing and homelessness crisis,” said Tomiquia Moss, Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton Families. “By prioritizing funding for affordable housing projects which serve formerly homeless individuals and families, expanding shelter options for those experiencing homelessness, and increasing behavioral health services Mayor Breed’s proposal will help us serve those most in need in our City.”
“San Francisco is in desperate need of more housing and specifically supportive housing for the most vulnerable members of our city, including seniors and people with disabilities,” said Gail Gillman, CEO of Community Housing Partnership. “Mayor Breed’s proposal would not only help those currently experiencing homelessness by opening up new beds in Navigation Centers and shelters, it would also create new opportunities for individuals ready to move into permanent housing as well.”
“San Francisco has a large affordable housing debt that has become a crisis,” said Jamestown Community Center Executive Director and Planning Commission Vice President Myrna Melgar. “We owe this debt to our working class families, our African American and Latino citizens who have been displaced, our seniors, our tenants, the homeless and above all we owe it to our children. When you get a one-time windfall and you owe, you don't go out and buy something new, or even use it for your regular expenses - you use it to pay your debt. Our debt as a City to the next generation will get a sizable payment because of Mayor Breed's investment for which I am grateful, as it is long overdue.”
“Every unit of housing is a solution to homelessness, and using these unexpected funds to support those amongst us who are most in need is the right thing to do,” said Beth Stokes, Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services. “Making significant investments in new housing units while also increasing our capacity to provide shelter for people while that housing is built, will go a long way in meeting our shared goal of ending chronic homelessness in San Francisco.”
“This funding will make a real difference in the lives of hundreds of families living in our neighborhoods,” added recent Fisk University graduate and Sunnydale resident Breonna Frierson. “For too long we have been cut off from safe and decent housing, and from real opportunity. This investment that Mayor Breed is willing to make into our neighborhoods finally allows Sunnydale and Potrero Hill to be a part of the rest of San Francisco. Thank you Mayor Breed for giving the community hope and for trying to invest in what often feels like the forgotten.”