San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed traveled to Sacramento today to join the California Big City Mayors coalition to call on State leaders for continued support to address the statewide homelessness crisis. Mayors from the across California’s 13 largest cities held a press conference urging leaders to increase funding for two critical programs, the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grant program and Homekey.
“In San Francisco we are directing significant local resources to address homelessness, mental illness, and substance use,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “To continue this work at the scale required, we need the State to prioritize ongoing funding for homelessness, and we need to reform our State mental health laws. The Big City Mayors have been advocating for years now for ongoing homelessness funding for our cities, because when we have focus and significant investments from the State, in addition to our local contributions and federal funding, we can make an impact.”
State funding is essential to support San Francisco’s ongoing efforts to address homelessness. Between 2019 and 2022, San Francisco saw a 15% decrease in unsheltered homelessness, and most recently launched a new 5-year strategic plan, Home by the Bay, to cut unsheltered homelessness in half over the next five years. The plan calls for a significant investment in housing, shelter, and prevention services to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place, requiring significant support from local, state, and federal funding sources.
California Big City Mayors Homelessness Budget Asks
The Big City Mayors made two key asks for the State budget to support cities across California in addressing homelessness.
Ongoing State Funding
First, to provide $2 billion a year ongoing through the Homelessness Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grant program. Previously, this funding has been for only $1 billion and not ongoing. The Big City Mayors are asking for the funding source to be sustained for multiple years but at minimum for the next three years, totaling $6 billion.
Examples of previous work funded by HHAP include building new shelters, providing operating costs for shelter beds, supporting a youth drop-in center, delivering enhanced services at shelters to help people quickly access housing, and providing transportation to help people to move from streets to shelter.
Extending Project Homekey
Second, to provide an additional $1.5 billion for Project Homekey to help cities purchase more buildings to provide housing for the formerly homeless. There have been two rounds of Homekey grants, and currently San Francisco is now preparing to submit proposals to the State for a third round of funding.
To date, San Francisco has acquired six properties totaling 799 units using Homekey funding. The City has used the funds to purchase both hotels and apartment buildings to provide housing for formerly homeless youth, adults, and families. Currently, San Francisco has its seventh proposed Homekey project moving through the application process. Part of that process requires approval by the Board of Supervisors, which will be voted on at the Board meeting on Tuesday. May 23rd.
Pushing for Behavioral Health Reform
In addition to calling for ongoing resources through the HHAP program and Homekey funding for all applications in the current round, which could bring up to 2,300 new homes online across the state, the mayors are pushing for needed behavioral health reform. Specifically, the Big City Mayors are co-sponsoring Senate Bill 43 and Senate Bill 363 by Senator Susan Eggman (D) to reform the state’s conservatorship laws. Mayor Breed was last in Sacramento in March 2023 along with fellow California mayors in support of Senator Eggman’s legislation.
About Big City Mayors
The Big City Mayors is a coalition of mayors from California’s thirteen largest cities with a population over 300,000. Member cities include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Stockton, Riverside, and Irvine. This year, the Big City Mayors coalition is chaired by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.
The livestream for today’s press announcement may be found here.