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SF’s Annual Budget

A year ago, in my “New Start” plan, I outlined a plan for COVID recovery and my commitment to working families, tenants, and small businesses. I’m happy that through this year’s budget, we are delivering on our promises and all of my colleagues are committed to making sure that our recovery does not leave anyone behind.

In July, the Board of Supervisors, working with Mayor London Breed, passed a $13.2 billion city budget that included $123 million in program restorations for our community priorities. I’m particularly proud to have advocated for “New Start” priorities to preserve spots in after-school programs, to invest in building affordable housing on the west side of San Francisco, and to support small businesses beyond COVID recovery.

We first heard about the funding gap for after-school programs from Richmond District providers, and discovered that it was affecting programs across the City. After a year and a half of at-home schooling, these slots are critical for our working parents to be able to get back to full-time work and for their children to have the social and educational support they have been missing and need for their mental health. The Board of Supervisors was able to add an additional $2 million over the next two years to ensure we do not have to cut after-school spots across the City. This amount builds on the $15 million we secured earlier this year to fund our free summer camp program. I hope to continue building on these investments in our working families in future years to make these programs permanent.

This budget also supports our ability and responsibility to build more affordable housing on the west side of San Francisco in Districts 1, 4 and 7, by expanding the capacity of our community-based organizations to build and preserve affordable housing. The west side has seen very little investment in affordable housing historically, which makes these capacity-building dollars so critical to our ability to produce the affordable housing units that our residents so desperately need.

Earlier this year, I created the Neighborhood Anchor Business program in order to provide more support and protections for the small businesses that are the heart and soul of our community and which anchor our neighborhood commercial corridors. In this year’s budget, we funded staff in the Office of Small Business to launch and administer this program. Finally, this budget also expands the Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund for the first time since the program was created by voters in 2015.

For the Richmond, we added $1 million into the budget to support long-term recovery for some of our most vulnerable communities, including our seniors, youth and immigrants. Our seniors continue to struggle with food security, and this year’s budget not only expands access for food security, but also invests in programs and clinical services for seniors. We are also able to support continued youth engagement and development, as well as a culturally competent and language-accessible service center for our limited English proficient Richmond residents.

Of course, this work could not have been done without my colleagues, including Budget Chair Matt Haney, all the members of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, and Mayor Breed. I also want to acknowledge so many of our community organizations who not only work hard to serve our constituents from day to day, but also advocate at City Hall for the funding and resources they need to continue serving our district.

If budgets are supposed to be a statement of our values, then I am proud to say that this citywide budget reflects the shared priorities that we collectively fight so hard for.

This article was published in the Richmond Review in August 2021.

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