Regional Shift Toward Shelter in City Homelessness Budgets
The mayors of the Bay Area’s two largest cities are proposing to shift resources allocated to addressing homelessness away from new permanent housing programs and toward lower-cost shelter and interim housing alternatives. San Francisco Mayor London Breed this Tuesday (May 31) released a budget proposal that would, if approved by the Board of Supervisors, shift dollars from the Proposition C gross receipts tax toward building 600 new shelter beds. In announcing the proposal, Mayor Breed referred to the “A Place for All” ordinance, introduced by Supervisor Raphael Mandelman and adopted by the Board of Supervisors, which makes it city policy to prioritize providing at least basic shelter to all people in the City experiencing homelessness.
The re-shuffling of priorities mirrors a similar proposal unveiled last month by San José Mayor Matt Mahan to split revenues from a property transfer tax measure between interim and permanent affordable housing. The changes reflect a new sense of alarm at the negative impacts of unsheltered homelessness to public health, safety, and economic activity. This past winter alone, at least 18 homeless residents of San Jose, Saratoga, Oakland, South San Francisco, and Sacramento were killed by exposure. Meanwhile, polls continue to show the proliferation of unsheltered homelessness is keeping Bay Area residents away from BART and downtown shopping areas.
The Bay Area Council Homelessness Committee will be discussing this funding shift, options to streamline sober living projects and a regional affordable housing and homelessness bond measure at its quarterly meeting next week.