A Record Add-back Year for the Budget!

by Jennifer Friedenbach

It was a record add-back year, even though there was a decrease in General Fund revenue and we had a Mayor’s proposed budget that cut many community programs including $60 million from housing for homeless youth and families and $30 million from child care in two voter initiatives (from 2018).  In total the add-back pot for an overall $14.6 billion budget was $80 million over two years.  

First: We were able to preserve the $60 million in housing for families and transitional-aged youth! 

Second:As a result of preserving family and TAY funding, we were able to save many of the programs that $60 million would have been spent on including 123 shelter cabins, daytime access to Buena Vista Horace Mann family shelter and $8.1 million in homelessness prevention.  There was also funding for short-term rental subsidies for homeless adults. Money from interest from Prop. C fund was used for these and a list is attached.  

Third:Several of the Homeless Emergency Service Providers Association’s asks were funded adding up to over $16 million!

HESPA items funded by Our City Our Home

  • Need Based/Flex pool subsidies for families $540K first year (2023-2024), $556K second year (2024-2025).  Will house more than 10 families
  • Prevention at $8.1 million to keep 750 households in their homes (instead of becoming homeless)
  • Hotel vouchers for pregnant, families and those fleeing domestic violence at $1.5 million 
  • $1.2 million for behavioral health in shelter and drop-ins
  • $743,300 for clinical services for TAY navigation center serving 75 youth at a time

HESPA items funded by Add-backs

  • Monthly housing subsidies for HIV/senior/people who use drugs at $1.25 million serving 54 households
  • Workforce earn-and-learn jobs $400k for almost a hundred unhoused job seekers
  • Saved funding for women’s drop-in center
  • Food security for youth $200k for over 200 youth

Fourth:Several other items benefiting homeless people were funded including a afe parking program for the west side at $1.6 million and a respite center for sleeping, showering and food which was funded at $400K

Last, but not least, the SRO Collaborative and codes enforcement programs that were wiped out by the Mayor were fully restored!!!!

I just want to note that Budget Committee Chair Connie Chan, who did a great job under severe circumstances, was not allowing any “new items” on the add-back list.  That left showers  and Compassionate Alternative Response Team out of the running.

While we didn’t get everything, and that is disappointing, we did make some amazing progress.  So thank you for all your work!

A big shout out of gratitude goes to everyone who made this possible— to the last Coalition On Homelessness staff standing until midnight (De’Jon, Miguel and Liz), along with many of our allies from the Homeless Prenatal Program, Larkin Street Youth Services, Hospitality House and so many more organizations, to the many many folks along the way who organized protests, wrote proposals, did media work, showed up at hearings, stood in long lines, visited elected officials, did outreach to mobilize folks. This was truly an inspirational organizing effort to bring forward solutions to homelessness!  Really incredible work everyone—your tenacity and commitment are truly inspiring.