By Mayor London Breed
How the City will allocate resources for the next two fiscal years
Our Budget is the single most important piece of legislation that comes out of City Hall. It is the culmination of months of hard work from my staff, City Departments, and the Board of Supervisors, with input that comes from so many in the community who care about this city.
This past week, we took a big step forward in finalizing our budget when we came to an agreement with the Budget Committee of the Board of Supervisors on our two-year budget.
The budget moving forward meets the priorities I set forward in my proposed budget to deliver on the basic services our residents deserve, while also building toward a stronger future as we emerge from this pandemic. The significant investments in this budget will strengthen our economic recovery, restore public safety, support workers and families, and build on efforts to reduce homelessness and address behavioral health.
In addition to funding critical services and community-based programs, below are several key priorities of this year’s budget that have been included, and I know they will help us make a difference in this City:
The budget invests $47.4 million over the two years to promote the City’s economic recovery. This includes new direct support for small businesses, as well as new events, activations, public space improvements, 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 like Mid-Market, Union Square, Downtown, South of Market, and along the Embarcadero.
The budget also includes $7.2 million over the two years to support an enhanced Tenderloin cleaning initiative, which will expand Public Works’ current cleaning operations in the area. In addition to enhanced cleaning efforts, the budget includes $4.4 million over the two years to support enforcement of the street vending ordinance, developed in partnership with the Board of Supervisors.
Public Safety and Alternatives to Policing
Since the beginning of COVID-19, the Police Department has experienced both a high rate of officer attrition and difficulty attracting new officers to the Department. To address this, the Budget funds a Police Hiring Plan to fill the City’s approximately 200 vacant police officer positions. The budget supports this plan by providing:
Academy Classes: Resources to support four academy classes in each fiscal year, backfilling a total of 220 officers over the two years.
Recruitment: Adjusting entry-level step salary for incoming officers, making San Francisco a more competitive department compared to other Bay Area cities. The budget also provides funding to develop recruitment tools and strategies.
Retention: Funding to offer retention bonuses to officers at 5- and 15-years of service to promote longevity and reduce the department’s high attrition rate.
Modernizing department functions and continuing to promote reform. In addition to funding the ongoing police reform work underway, the budget adds 12 new professional staff positions over the next two years to continue reform work and sufficiently support Public Records Act requests.
The City made significant investments during the last budget cycle to develop new alternatives to law enforcement response strategies. This budget maintains investments for the Street Crisis Response Teams (SCRT), Street Wellness Response Teams (SWRT), and Street Opioid Response Team (SORT). Further expanding on these investments, the budget invests in strengthening community-based outreach teams to improve the City’s response to non-emergency and non-medical calls for service that had been the responsibility of law enforcement previously. Enhancements include new Crisis Counselors, which will be embedded in the 9–1–1 Call Center and can help to respond to mental and behavioral health calls as part of the City’s services-first strategy.
Homelessness and Behavioral Health
The City has made bold new investments in homelessness and housing over the last several years through the Mayor’s Homelessness Recovery Plan, which has helped the City experience a 15% reduction in unsheltered homelessness, according to the latest point-in-time count.
Building on these efforts, the proposed budget includes funding for ongoing operations of 410 new adult shelter beds in a non-congregate or semi-congregate setting that were acquired in the current fiscal year, as well as continuing operations for three Shelter-in-Place (SIP) hotels that would otherwise close at the end of 2022. The proposed budget also continues funding for Safe Sleep sites in the Mission and Bayview districts, a 70-unit cabin site on Gough Street, and adds one-time funding to create a new 70-unit cabin site in the Mission.
The budget also invests in strategies to end homelessness and provide housing subsidies for transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) residents who disproportionally face barriers to housing, services, and employment. These investments fund a citywide strategic goal to end Transgender Homelessness in the next five years.
The budget includes funding to continue the implementation of key aspects of Mental Health SF. Expanding the City’s behavioral health treatment bed capacity remains a priority, and the budget includes $57.5 million over the two years 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.
Labor and Wage Equity
The most significant, ongoing investment in the upcoming two-year budget is a $240 million investment in the City’s public and non-profit workforce. This includes providing a 10 percent wage increase over the period of the two-year budget for non-sworn City workers. The budget also fully restores a 3 percent wage increase for the City’s sworn employee unions. It also increases wages for non-profit workers next fiscal year, in line with increases for public sector employees. Additionally, the budget further invests in the wages of frontline staff in the City’s permanent supportive housing buildings, including case managers, janitors and desk clerks.
The budget also includes ongoing funding for early educator raises that were recently launched by the Mayor’s Office and the Office of Early Care and Education (OECE). This investment will maintain the $8,000 to $30,000 annual raises of the over 2,000 City-funded early educators, enabling educators to be more fairly paid for their crucial work, and also helping attract new, quality educators to the field.
Children, Youth, and Families
The budget includes nearly $25 million each year to support four recommendations from the Mayor’s Children and Family Recovery Plan, providing childcare vouchers for low-income families and transition-aged young adults with children; increased staffing, and parental support and training at Family Resource Centers; and the creation of an improved system to help families identify and sign up for services.
The budget aims to support overall child and family wellness through an annual $5 million investment. These funds will support UCSF hospital clinicians to work with community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide onsite support to children and youth, train and coach CBO staff to identify signs and symptoms of mental health needs, provide clinical support to CBO staff, and increase agency capacity to provide wellness and referral services.
With the recent approval by the Budget Committee, the Budget now moves to the Board of Supervisors for a full vote in July, after which it will be forwarded back to me for my final approval by August 1st.