San Francisco city officials announced Friday they will provide an additional $5.4 million to extend through June 2022 the local Right to Recover program, which provides financial support for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and need monetary assistance as they get tested, quarantine, and recover.
According to city officials, the extension of the program established in July 2020 is urgently needed amid a recent, unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases related to the highly contagious omicron variant. As a result, the city has seen an increase in Right to Recover program applications.
"As we learn to live with COVID-19, we must continue to ensure that those who are not able to work from home and cannot afford to miss a paycheck have the necessary support to recover if they get sick," Mayor London Breed said in a statement. "When someone comes down with the virus, we want them to focus on getting the care they need and the resources to isolate in order to protect their family and surrounding community. Right to Recover not only allows us to help those who may not have access to health or unemployment insurance, but it allows us to protect the health and safety of all residents in our city."
Supervisor Hillary Ronen authored legislation along with the Latino Task Force to create the program.
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Ronen called the program a "lifesaver."
She added, "It has allowed low-income workers and families to prioritize their own health and well-being as well as that of the public by giving them the financial support to stay home and quarantine when they test positive for COVID. This program has been a small bright light in this grueling pandemic and I'm glad we will keep it going as long as it's needed."
The new round of funding comes from the city's General Fund and will help an estimated additional 5,400 workers who currently need financial assistance.
The program previously provided as much as $1,285 to cover 14 days of recovery. The city has since adjusted the amount to $1,000 to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated 10-day isolation recommendation.
Since the program began, it has helped more than 7,000 residents, providing some $10.9 million.
According to city officials, about 75 percent of the program's recipients live in some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods, including the Mission, Excelsior, Outer Mission, Ingleside, Bayview, Visitacion Valley, Tenderloin, and South of Market.
People interested in the program can contact the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development's hotline at (415) 701-4817, or the San Francisco Department of Public Health's COVID Resource Center at (628) 217-6101. Those interested can also email email@example.com or visit www.oewd.org/covid19/workers.