Mayor London Breed Announces over $28 Million in Expanded COVID-19 Support for San Francisco's Latino Community
Working with Latino community leaders, City identifies new support for health, housing, food access, workforce and small businesses for community most impacted by virus
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced expanded COVID-related support for the Latino community, which has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This new support comes after working with the community, particularly the Latino Parity and Equity Coalition, which has been advocating for more resources for the Latino community. This $28.5 million commitment will begin with an initial funding of $22.5 million to support the Latino community that will come through a variety of solutions, with focuses on health, housing, food access, workforce, and small businesses. The City will continue to leverage public and private sources to meet the remaining need. This effort was led by the Department of Public Health in partnership with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
“Our Latino community has borne the brunt of the COVID pandemic not just here in San Francisco, but across the country,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “While we have provided support for food access and financial assistance, it hasn’t been enough. We can do more to support those who have been going to work day after day and who too often live in crowded conditions that make it hard to isolate. By working with the community, we have identified targeted areas of need that will help trusted leaders reach our most vulnerable where they are and provide the support to keep the community healthy.”
Latinos make up 50% percent of reported cases of COVID-19 in San Francisco, despite the demographic making up just 15% of the City’s population, according to the Department of Public Health. The disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on the Latino community can be traced back to crowded living conditions and the high number of frontline and essential workers who are Latino.
“With more than 50% of San Francisco’s COVID-19 cases in the Latino community, we need to continue to invest in services that can slow transmission of the virus and support people through their infection,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Public Health. “In addition to testing and contact tracing, we are investing in wraparound care from isolation and quarantine to food assistance and healthcare. Working with community leaders and other City departments, we can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the Latino community and in San Francisco overall.”
“It’s clear this pandemic continues to have traumatic impacts on our most vulnerable populations in San Francisco, especially for hard-working Latino families and workers who make up one in every two COVID-19 cases in San Francisco,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “The vital resources and investments Mayor Breed has prioritized to address the needs within this community reflect and respect the tireless and powerful advocacy and work of our partners, as well as our City’s commitment to the most vulnerable and impacted. We are listening to community, and thankful for their leadership and partnership.”
These expanded efforts will cover a broad range of support directed to the community organizations doing the work on the ground, led by the Latino Parity and Equity Coalition and the Latino Task Force. The SFLPEC is a broad-based, citywide coalition which represents members from leading nonprofits, housing, immigration, social service, and advocate groups across the city that was established on the premise that the City’s budget and policies should promote investments that empower Latino communities and reduce inequities for San Francisco’s Latino residents, particularly in the wake of the unprecedented affordability and displacement crisis. The coalition focuses its work in five specific neighborhoods - Mission, Visitacion Valley, Bayview, Excelsior, and the Tenderloin.
“The San Francisco Latino Parity and Equity Coalition (SFLPEC) will work to achieve a timely, proactive and effective partnership with the City and County of San Francisco,” said Mario Paz, on behalf of the Latino Parity and Equity Coalition. “Together we must reverse the great tragedy befalling our community. Latinos represent 15 percent of our city’s population, yet 51 percent of all those testing positive for the virus in our city. We commend Mayor Breed for her recognition of our community based response, and for acting quickly to secure $28.5 million for pandemic response for Latinos citywide. We are confident that by working together we can reverse the disproportionate impact of Covid 19 on the Latino community.”
“On behalf of the Latino Task Force, we appreciate all of the efforts of Mayor Breed in securing critical resources to address the needs of the Latinx community who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. We are grateful for her ongoing commitment and leadership in keeping the needs of the Latinx community a priority in the City budget,” said Valerie Tulier-Laiwa, Coordinator, Latino Task Force. “These COVID response resources will be used directly to serve the thousands of people standing in the Mission Food Hub line and those seeking family relief and numerous other services at the Latino Task Force Resource Hub. It will also support a culturally appropriate and community-delivered approach at the LTF Testing Hub.”
The initial funding will come from a variety of sources both public and private, and will be spread across these areas of need:
Testing, Tracing & Behavioral Health
The Department of Public Health has secured $7.3 million to support COVID-19 response efforts in the Latino community. This includes $3 million for community pop-up testing hubs, which have been a key strategy to bring testing to neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19. The additional investment includes test-to-community care services for Latino neighborhoods, connecting families in need to resources, including food, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and financial assistance programs. A fundamental component to reducing the spread of COVID-19 is community contract tracing. Funds for this effort will help increase the ability for Spanish speaking personnel to connect to the bilingual Latino population. In addition, this investment will provide added capacity in behavioral health services, such as mental wellness, for those affected by the virus.
Housing Subsidies & Eviction Defense
The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) has secured $8.5 million in housing subsidies, direct financial assistance, and eviction prevention. This investment includes $5.5 million in rental subsidies and $2 million in funding for the City’s Right to Recover program, which provides up to two weeks of minimum wage replacement, or $1,285, for any worker living in San Francisco who tests positive for the virus and anticipates experiencing financial hardship.
Furthermore, MOHCD is increasing its investment in eviction prevention services with an additional $1 million allocation that targets assistance to communities disproportionately affected by displacement, specifically residents in Districts 6, 9, 10 and 11. In addition to providing housing subsidies and investing in eviction prevention, MOHCD is assessing the flexibility of its future community development grants to support rapid COVID response initiatives and is also continuing to invest in the production and preservation of affordable housing with its community partners.
Food Access & Family Support
The City will be directing $5.3 million in additional funding for food access, learning support, and family support. Building off initial investments in food access for the Latino community, the Human Services Agency will provide an additional $3.6 million dollars to support vital nutrition resources for the Mission and neighborhoods with Latino residents most in need. These food supports will be provided through community food hubs offering fresh produce and healthy, culturally relevant grocery staples for pick up or delivery to vulnerable community members.
To support Spanish-speaking communities impacted by learning loss and social isolation, the Department of Children Youth and Families will expand San Francisco’s innovative Community Hubs Initiative with $812,000 to stand up eight Community Hubs for children and youth.
First 5 San Francisco will be contributing the entirety of its recently approved COVID-19 Emergency Fund totaling $750,000 to meet the needs of Latino families with children 0 to 5 impacted by COVID-19. First 5 will also commit $150,000 in in-kind PPE, household supplies, and children’s books.
Small Business & Workforce
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development is committing $1.4 million for workforce and small businesses. This includes $1 million in zero interest loans for small businesses who may have difficulty accessing more traditional loan products. The loans will provide capital with a flexible repayment schedule and the terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. In addition to direct financial relief, expanded investments will provide additional technical assistance and resources for Latino-owned businesses to safely reopen. The Excelsior neighborhood will also receive funds to increase capacity for bilingual workforce development, including support for short-term case management and skills development, and wrap-around services connected to the City’s COVID response.