As San Francisco works to recover financially from the pandemic, Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced her budget priorities for the next two years that include investments in the ongoing COVID-19 response, homelessness, and public safety.
With a $13.1 billion budget for fiscal 2021-22 and a $12.8 billion budget for fiscal 2022-23, Breed said her proposal on how to spend the city budget comes at an exciting time.
"No, COVID is not gone, but the number of people in the hospital is lower than it's been since March of last year and almost 80 percent of eligible people have been vaccinated," she said.
In her budget, Breed includes $477 million over the next two years for continued COVID-19 response, which supports vaccination, testing and emergency shelter efforts, as well as educational, social and business recovery initiatives.
Breed's budget also leverages $1 billion in local, state and federal resources for homelessness response, including the creation of additional safe parking sites and a new 40-bed emergency shelter for families.
Breed has also pledged $300 million in new behavioral health investments, such as expanded overdose prevention services, a new drug sobering site, 640 new treatment beds, expanded naloxone distribution, and the implementation of Street Response Teams.
"If we focus and invest right, we have a real chance to make a fundamental change for those who are living on the streets and for our city as a whole," she said. "Our recovery isn't about just getting back to where we were, it's about taking on the existing disparities laid bare by this pandemic."
Breed included $144 million for early childhood education, with funding addressing such needs as learning loss as a result of the pandemic and mental health care access for San Francisco Unified School District students.
In addition, Breed's budget puts $60 million toward supporting the Dream Keeper Initiative, which is meant to mitigate hardships for the city's African American residents; $65 million toward public safety, including increased services for victims and violence prevention work; and $50.6 million to support affordable housing developments.
"After we get this budget passed and we move these dollars into action, we are going to see real change and things will look even better and brighter after the pandemic," Breed said.
The budget is set to be reviewed and approved by the Board of Supervisors through July before going back to Breed for approval by Aug. 1.