Mayor Breed’s budget proposal includes significant General Fund investments in COVID-19 response
San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed today presented her budget proposal to continue the City’s ongoing response to COVID-19 in the next fiscal year. The COVID-19 budget investments are part of the Mayor’s two year budget proposal, which Mayor Breed announced on Friday, July 31, and which balances a $1.5 billion deficit with a responsible use of reserves, preserving jobs and with minimal impact to City services.
In total, Mayor Breed’s proposed budget allocates $446.1 million to ensure the City has the financial resources to meet the citywide priorities set forth by the COVID-19 Command Center, the centralized emergency operations center coordinating the response across City departments. The Mayor’s budget assumes the City’s General Fund will support $93 million of that total amount, and that the remaining amount will be covered through a combination of FEMA reimbursement, state grants, and funding from the CARES Act. Additionally, the $446.1 million in expenditures for COVID-19 are budgeted in only FY 2020-21 in the Mayor’s proposed budget. If there is a significant surge in cases or the pandemic requires the current level of response after July 2021, additional funding will be required.
“The spending I have proposed for the City’s COVID-19 response is an investment in San Francisco’s public health, but it is also so much more than that. Controlling this virus until we have a vaccine is critical to keeping our residents safe, allowing our businesses to operate, and helping our economy to recover,” said Mayor Breed. “San Francisco has been a national leader is our COVID-19 response but we cannot get complacent. We know this virus is going to be with us for months to come, and we need to continue to build on the progress we have made with these investments.”
“As we respond to the COVID pandemic, it is critical for us to remain strong, focused and well-coordinated,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “We must maintain our investment in public health to keep our community safe and save lives, and Mayor Breed’s proposed budget includes the funding we need to respond to COVID-19.”
“Being able to effectively execute the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic requires complex coordination, communication and operations,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director, Department of Emergency Management. “It also means we need sufficient resources to keep our city as protected as possible from this virus. The COVID-19 Command Center is where many city agencies work together to combine strategies that fight COVID-19, and having the support of the Mayor’s proposed budget means we will be able to sustain this essential work to protect our community.”
“San Francisco is facing the steepest economic slide in modern history. As our COVID-19 response continues to protect public health and help businesses recover, people who are confronting the loss of a job or health insurance will need to turn to the City in new ways to help them through this crisis,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “At this time of great economic uncertainty, the Mayor’s proposed budget includes significant new funding to prevent hunger, increase access to employment, and provide emergency housing to the families and communities who need this assistance the most.”
Mayor Breed’s proposed budget includes funding to ensure the City is able to continue its comprehensive, data-driven, and public health-focused response to the ongoing health threats and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will be directed to four main categories: health operations; housing and shelter programs; food security and human services; and emergency communications and operations.
In total, the Mayor’s budget allocates $184.9 million for health operations. The Mayor’s budget ensures there is adequate funding for COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, expanded capacity at hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, outbreak management, and contact tracing, among other expenses. The most significant health expense is testing at $55.9 million, followed by citywide personal protective equipment at $44.2 million. The health operations category also includes $12.7 million for community outreach and engagement in priority neighborhoods, congregate settings, and communities at high risk of exposure.
Housing and Shelter Programs
The proposed budget includes investments to address the needs of San Francisco’s unsheltered residents in the COVID-19 environment with shelter, food, and medical care. The budget provides $182.9 million for housing and shelter programs, including hotel rooms for vulnerable individuals without access to housing to safely shelter-in-place or recover from COVID-19.
Food Security and Human Services
Throughout COVID-19, addressing food insecurity has remained one of Mayor Breed’s and the City’s top priorities. The Mayor’s proposed budget includes $45.8 million in new expenditures for food programs. The budget also includes $16 million to continue the City’s expansion of the Pit Stop program.
Emergency Communications and Operations
In total, the Mayor’s proposed budget allocates $16.5 million for emergency communications and operations. The proposed budget includes $12.9 million for staffing and operations at the City’s COVID Command Center, including $3.6 million in funding for multi-lingual communications, outreach, and education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has also been a major source for investment in economic recovery-focused initiatives. In March 2020, the City established Give2SF, a fund for the City to accept tax-deductible donations to fund efforts in three priority areas (1) food security; (2) access to housing; and (3) security for workers and small businesses. Give2SF raised over $28 million in FY 2019-20 and has dedicated funds to various programs, including meal programs for seniors, grocery gift cards for undocumented and mixed-status households, food pantries for low-income San Franciscans, small business emergency grants, small business no-interest loans, and financial assistance for rent, mortgage, and other housing costs. Funds directed towards these efforts will continue to be disbursed throughout FY 2020-21.
Mayor Breed’s proposed budget is now before the Budget and Finance Committee, after which it will go before the full Board of Supervisors. Following approval by the Board of Supervisors, the budget for FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 will go to the Mayor for her signature and final adoption by October 1, 2020.
Mayor Breed’s proposed budget for FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 is available online here.