Mayor London N. Breed today announced over $4 million in funding to provide rental subsidies for people living with HIV/AIDS and for transgender San Franciscans. Mayor Breed’s proposed budget for Fiscal Years 2020-21 and 2021-22 will allow the City to continue funding critical rental assistance and housing support programs, which prevent eviction and stabilize tenancies for some of the City’s most vulnerable residents who continued to be greatly impacted by the global pandemic and economic crisis.
Mayor Breed’s proposed budget includes $2 million annually in Fiscal Years 20-21 and 21-22 to maintain critical rental subsidies and supportive services. This includes annually:
- $1 million for the Our Trans Home SF program to provide rental subsidies, transitional housing, and navigation services to transgender and gender nonconforming low income community members; and
- $1 million for the HIV/AIDS Rent Subsidy Program to provide rental assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS.
“We continue to keep the health and safety of our communities as our number one priority and this means keeping our residents in their homes,” said Mayor Breed. “We know that the economic and health impact of the pandemic is disproportionately impacting communities of color specifically our Black and Latino residents, our already underserved trans and gender nonconforming housing insecure community members, as well as those who are more at risk including those who are HIV-positive. During these unprecedented times we must continue and expand our investments in getting and keeping our most vulnerable communities housed.”
“Even in San Francisco, trans and gender nonconforming and HIV-positive residents face higher rates of housing insecurity and significant health disparities,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “In this COVID era, these rental subsidies will help keep our most vulnerable residents housed and healthy over the next two years.”
“San Francisco made history last year with these critical investments, we are grateful for Mayor Breed’s continued partnership and investment in our most underserved communities,” said Clair Farley, Director of the Office of Transgender Initiatives. “Now more than ever with the public health emergency, economic crisis, and continued attacks by the Federal Government we need to assure our most impacted residents have access to safe, inclusive and affordable housing.”
“We are so proud to collaborate with Mayor Breed and our non-profit partners on the expansion of our housing stability efforts in the trans and gender nonconforming and HIV+ communities,” said Eric Shaw, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “These targeted housing subsidies are crucial tools that allow us to combat the vast inequities the pandemic has exposed.”
In addition to the rental subsidy programs for transgender and HIV+ residents, the City has a wide portfolio of rental and housing subsidies for seniors, people with disabilities, youth, families, and formerly homeless individuals living in permanent supportive housing.
Our Trans Home SF
Our Trans Home SF program supports low-income transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) community members find or keep their housing through rental subsidies, housing navigation, and case management. One out of every two transgender San Franciscans have experienced homelessness and TGNC people are 18 times more likely to experience homelessness. This unique and vital program provides the TGNC community much-needed housing stability.
Since December 2019, Our Trans Home SF has provided one time emergency and ongoing rental subsidies for over 65 community members. The program also provides housing navigation services and transitional housing support services.
Mayor Breed prioritized funding the program in the previous City Budget with $2.3 million through MOHCD and the Office of Transgender Initiatives. In September 2019, MOHCD awarded funding to St. James Infirmary and Larkin Street Youth Services to implement the new initiative.
“We must continue to prioritize housing for trans and non-binary communities because we face pervasive discrimination in housing, employment, and healthcare. Trans and non-binary communities experience homelessness at a rate 18x the general population and have much higher rates of underlining health conditions that put us at greater risk for COVID-related illness, such as HIV, cancer, diabetes and asthma. Shelter in place has further exacerbated mental health challenges as well relating to increased isolation.” said Akira Jackson, Director of TAJA’s Coalition and Consultant on the Our Trans Home SF housing project at St. James. “With this continued investment, we can make sure our community members most impacted by transphobic discrimination and violence have equitable access to safe and supportive housing with wrap around medical and mental health services during the pandemic and beyond.”
For more information on San Francisco’s trans housing efforts, please visit: http://ourtranshomesf.org/.
HIV/AIDS Rent Subsidy Program
The HIV/AIDS Rent Subsidy Program launched in December 2019 and is San Francisco’s first new rental subsidy program for people living with HIV/AIDS in 12 years. The rental subsidies have been administered to approximately 120 individuals who are HIV positive. To qualify for the program, people must be either currently housed and paying more than 70 percent of their income toward rent, or offered below-market rate housing in San Francisco, but in need of a subsidy.
The City Budget for FY 19-20 included $1 million for the HIV/AIDS Rent Subsidy Program. In 2019, MOHCD awarded funding to the Q Foundation to administer the program. In addition to this subsidy program, the City has long provided rental subsidies for people living with HIV and AIDS through the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) Program.
“Mayor London Breed’s initial investment in the first new HIV subsidies in SF in 12 years is already yielding incredible results,” said Brian Basinger, Executive Director, Q Foundation. “Thanks to her support, in the first 7 months, we have provided over 10,000 nights of stable housing to over 100 households for less than $25 per night. The fact that this happened in the middle of COVID-19 shelter in place is a testament to the dedication, resilience and grit of my team at Q Foundation and of the HIV+ community, who know how to overcome adversity.”
In 2014, San Francisco City agencies and organizations came together in a collective impact initiative known as Getting to Zero. This initiative brings together people and resources from throughout the city with three goals in mind: zero new HIV infections, zero HIV-related deaths and zero stigma and discrimination.
Helping HIV positive individuals remain housed or find housing advances the City’s goal of “getting to zero” new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths. Stable housing allows people to more easily access the regular health care and medications they need to achieve viral suppression. Viral suppression drugs have made HIV a survivable disease for many, but there is a major disparity when it comes to people who are marginally housed or homeless. Thirty-three percent of homeless persons living with HIV in San Francisco are virally suppressed, compared to 74 percent of housed persons.
For more information, go to https://theqfoundation.org/services/.