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Monday, October 3, 2022

Mayor Breed signs $14 billion budget to spur SF economic recovery

Economic recovery
Mayor London N. Breed signing SF's economic recovery budget (Photo: @LondonBreed).

The Mayor London N. Breed signed the $14 billion budget to boost San Francisco's economic recovery, which will prioritize public safety, workers and families, homelessness and behavioral health needs.

"This budget sets our priorities to provide the basic services our residents deserve, while building a stronger future as we emerge from this pandemic," said Mayor Breed. 

Accompanied by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, members of the Board of Supervisors and other city officials, she noted that the budget calls for the investment of $47.4 million over two years to promote the city's economic recovery. 

This includes, he said, new direct support for small businesses, as well as new events, activations, improvements to public spaces 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 such as Mid-Market, Union Square, Downtown, South of Market and along the Embarcadero. 

The budget also provides $7.2 million to support an enhanced Tenderloin cleanup initiative, which will expand Public Works' current operations in the area; and $4.4 million to support street vending ordinance enforcement, developed in collaboration with the Board of Supervisors. 

On public safety and alternatives to policing, he noted that the budget will fund a Police Hiring Plan to fill the city's approximately 200 vacant police officer positions.

In that regard, he added that there will be an upward salary adjustment for incoming officers, making the department more competitive compared to other Bay Area cities, while funding will be provided to offer retention bonuses to officers at 5 and 15 years of service to promote longevity and reduce the department's high attrition rate. 

At the same time, 12 new professional staff positions will be added over the next two years to continue the reform work and sufficiently support the requests of the Public Records Law. 

To address homelessness and behavioral health, Breed said the proposed budget includes funding for the ongoing operations of 410 new adult shelter beds in a non-congregate or semi-congregate setting that were purchased in the current fiscal year, as well as the continued operations of three shelters in place, which would otherwise close at the end of 2022. 

The proposed budget will also continue to fund Safe Sleep sites in the Mission and Bayview districts, a 70-unit cottage site on Gough Street, and adds one-time funding to create a new 70-unit cottage site in the Mission. 

The budget will also invest in strategies over the next 5 years to end homelessness and provide housing subsidies for transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) residents who face disproportionate barriers to accessing housing, services and employment. 

Notably, these funds include US$57.5 million 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. 

The investment will continue more significantly in the next two-year budget with a $240 million investment in the city's public and nonprofit workforce. This includes providing a 10 percent wage increase over the two-year budget period for non-sworn workers. 

The budget will also fully restore a 3 percent wage increase for the city's sworn employee unions, and provides for wage increases for nonprofit workers next fiscal year, in line with increases for public sector employees.

In addition, the budget further invests in the salaries of front-line staff in the city's permanent supportive housing buildings, including case managers, custodians, and receptionists. 

Moreover, the budget also includes continued funding for early childhood education raises, with annual increases from $8,000 to $30,000 for the more than 2,000 city-funded early childhood educators, which will allow them to receive fairer pay for their crucial work and will also help attract new, quality educators to the field. 

Similarly, the multi-million dollar amount includes nearly $25 million annually to support four recommendations of the Children and Families Recovery Plan, providing child care vouchers for low-income families and transition-age young adults with children; increased staffing and support and training for parents at Family Resource Centers; and the creation of an enhanced system to help families identify and enroll in services. 

In turn, it aims to support the overall well-being of children and families through an annual investment of $5 million to help UCSF hospital clinicians work with community-based organizations to provide on-site support to children and youth, train and coach staff to identify signs and symptoms of mental health needs, provide clinical support to staff, and increase agency capacity to provide wellness and referral services.

You may be interested in: SF Mayor seeks to eliminate homelessness for Transgender people

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