Director’s Message on FY2020-21 Budget
The City is facing an unprecedented budget situation due to the COVID19 pandemic. The City’s May projections anticipate at $1.5 billion shortfall during the next two budget years. To address this shortfall, the Mayor directed every City department, including the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, to propose a two-year budget that included a 10% reduction in General Funding spending in FY 20-21 (and 5% reduction contingency) and a 15% General Fund reduction in FY 21-22. For HSH that meant submitting a proposal to reduce General Fund spending by $42.9 million over two years.
HSH leadership knows how vital all of the Department’s services and funding are to people experiencing homelessness in our community. Even before the financial and public health crisis, there was a significant need to further invest in ending homelessness in San Francisco.
As we presented to the Local Homeless Coordinating Board in June, HSH created a budget proposal that met the requirement of the $42.9 million reduction in General Fund support over two years and focused on:
- Prioritizing services and programs that maintain housing and end homelessness (including permanent supportive housing, rental subsides, prevention, problem solving)
- Prioritizing equity in service delivery to underserved communities
- Leveraging new federal, state and philanthropic funding
- Efficiently allocating federal and state resources for both staffing and programs
- Deferring or slowdown new program expansions and short-term projects
Identifying program funds that can be redirected for COVID-19 response
HSH’s reduction proposal was submitted to the Mayor’s Office in June and has since been posted on the City’s public website. This proposal does not mean that the Mayor will accept these cuts or implement reductions at HSH but does comply with the budget instructions to bring tradeoffs before the Mayor.
The dissemination of this information has made some staff, providers, and advocates anxious that certain programs will be ended. The proposal is intended to demonstrate the tradeoffs the Mayor’s Office would need to make in order to implement a 10% to 15% reduction in HSH’s budget. However, the proposal requires further deliberation with the Mayor’s Budget Office to assess those tradeoffs in balancing the City’s $1.5 billion shortfall while HSH continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the homelessness crisis on our streets. HSH’s budget is not yet finalized, and we want to reassure you that no service reductions have yet been made.
While our City faces a significant budget crisis, homelessness remains a top priority for the City. HSH leadership will continue to work closely with the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to preserve and expand as much of the Homelessness Response System by leveraging new state and federal resources because we know how critical our programs are to people experiencing homelessness and the community. We value your partnership. HSH’s goal within our budget is to sustain those in shelter and expansion sites going forward which will require significant growth of housing and shelter resources. Therefore, we may need to make some cuts in order to expand those investments. The Advanced Planning Working Group on Shelter and Housing is hosting a community input forum via Del Seymour and Local Homeless Coordinating Board in mid-July where you can learn more about our advanced planning efforts and give input. More details to come.
Historic Spending on Homeless Services in San Francisco
Annual Operating Expenditures Since 2011
Spending by Service Category in Fiscal Year 15-16
Dollars in Millions