Mayor London Breed Delivers State of the City Address
Mayor Breed calls for San Francisco to rise to the challenges facing the City, announces ambitious ballot measure to streamline affordable and teacher housing, sets goal to create 4,000 new placements for homeless individuals, and names Dr. Grant Colfax as the new Director of DPH
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today delivered her first State of the City Address as Mayor, calling on San Francisco to rise to the challenges facing the City. In her speech, Mayor Breed announced a ballot measure to streamline the creation of new affordable and teacher housing, called for the City to create 4,000 new placements for unhoused residents, and named a new Director for the Department of Public Health.
The speech was held at the new National LGBTQ Center for the Arts at 170 Valencia Street, which serves as the first permanent headquarters of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. In it, Mayor Breed announced she will pursue a charter amendment that would streamline all affordable and teacher housing projects by making their approval as-of-right, which will pair with her support for an upcoming $300 million bond to fund the creation of affordable housing. The charter amendment, which she proposed for the November 2019 election, would allow 100% affordable and teacher housing proposals that comply with existing zoning laws to bypass the usual bureaucratic and appeals process that can result in long and costly delays.
“We have to break the barriers to building housing so our dollars go farther and we get housing built faster,” said Mayor Breed. “No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more ‘not in my neighborhood.’ It is simple: affordable housing as-of-right because housing affordability is a right.”
Mayor Breed expanded upon her ambitious plan to open 1,000 new shelter beds by setting a goal of creating 4,000 total placements for homeless individuals over the next four years through new shelters, step-up housing units, homeless housing units, and housing subsidies. It is estimated that there are roughly 4,000 unsheltered people in San Francisco every night. To help achieve this goal, Mayor Breed called for her proposal for the $185 million of the recently announced windfall to be spent on homelessness, behavioral health, and affordable housing.
“With this investment we can add 310 new shelter beds; 300 units of housing by master-leasing units, freeing up hundreds of beds in our shelter system; complete funding for a 255-unit building for formerly-homeless seniors and adults; and get started on hundreds of more units,” said Mayor Breed. “Now I know there are other budget priorities, and they are important. But let’s be clear—every dollar we take away from what I have proposed is one fewer bed. One lost home. One more person on the street.”
Mayor Breed announced that she has chosen Dr. Grant Colfax to serve as the new Director of the Department of Public Health (DPH). Dr. Colfax is a national leader on HIV Prevention and was trained at UCSF. He currently serves as Director of Marin County Health and Human Services. He previously worked at DPH as Director of HIV Prevention and Research before leaving to join the Obama White House as the Director of National AIDS Policy.
“Dr. Colfax knows our City and its challenges, and he is ready to get to work,” said Mayor Breed. “He knows that we need to get to zero HIV infections in San Francisco and that we need to reach our most vulnerable populations, particularly our African-American and Latino communities who are not seeing their HIV infection rates drop as others do. This means getting everyone—and I mean everyone—access to services, treatment, and preventative medication like PrEP. I know Dr. Colfax will get us to that goal.”
“I look forward to rejoining the Department of Public Health team and working with the City’s diverse communities to ensure all San Franciscans have the opportunity to optimize their health,” said Dr. Colfax. “This work will require effectively addressing the health challenges facing the City, as reflected in Mayor Breed’s priorities. This includes improving mental health and substance use treatment services, addressing the medical needs of people experiencing or at risk for homelessness, and reducing health inequities. With the Department’s history of innovative public health initiatives, community-driven programming, and superb clinical care system, I am optimistic about what can be achieved.”
Mayor Breed stated that addressing behavioral health issues in San Francisco continues to be a priority for her. She called for the Board of Supervisors to pass conservatorship legislation that she is authoring with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman to help people suffering from severe mental health and addiction issues on the streets. She committed to opening 100 new mental health stabilization beds in addition to the 50 that have already opened during her time as Mayor, and announced that she is creating the position of Director of Mental Health Reform, who will be tasked with revamping and overseeing the City’s entire approach to mental health.
Additionally, Mayor Breed stated her support for an upcoming measure with Supervisor Aaron Peskin to charge ride-hail companies to help relieve congestion on the streets of San Francisco. She re-iterated her support for advancing street safety and Vision Zero projects, including building protected bike lanes on the City’s high-injury corridors.