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The GrowSF Report: City overspending, underdelivering
PLUS: 22 trillion gallons of rainwater
What You Need To Know
Here’s what happened around the city for the week of January 2nd, 2023:
- SF Dept of Homelessness says it just needs another $1.4 billion to solve homelessness
- 22 trillion gallons of rain (we needed it)
- Real estate trends: Development stalled, but for how long?
- Tenderloin Merchants not getting their money’s worth
- Supervisor Ronen considers homeless shelters
$1.4 billion more to house the homeless
$1.4 billion. That’s how much the SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) says it needs to solve homelessness within three years. But even they don’t think it’s possible:
Doing so in three years, HSH said, is probably impossible.
That’s $1.4 billion on TOP of the nearly $1 billion we already spend every year on homelessness. For reference, the yearly budget was less than $300 million just a few years ago. Where is all this new money going?
Standing in the way of ending unsheltered homelessness is the city’s insistence on building “permanent supportive housing” instead of shelters. So rather than a super high-quality $25,000 shelter, the city would prefer to spend nearly $1,000,000 per unit of permanent housing.
The city says they face challenges like finding land and buildings, getting permits (from itself!) to build, and other operational and logistical issues.
“It seems like we should be able to do this for far cheaper. It’s hard to understand what’s driving the cost. I think we are not looking at the most cost-efficient models,” [Supervisor] Mandelman said.
We agree, Supervisor!
22 trillion gallons of rain
We needed it. The entire state has exited “Exceptional Drought” and we may leave “Extreme Drought” by the time this is over!
We hope you’re all staying dry and warm.
Real estate trends: Development stalled, but for how long?
The pandemic and economic downturn hit San Francisco real estate with a 1-2 punch. Most development is now stalled, but there’s a silver lining…
The SF Board of Supervisors may now have the motivation needed to liberalize land use policies to get the city’s economy humming again. But even if they fail, a state-mandated “housing element” plan obligates SF to produce 82,000 homes or face consequences.
To meet these requirements, the city must rezone the city to allow taller and denser construction. Unfortunately, since market conditions are so unfavorable to development right now, these changes are unlikely to immediately kick off new construction. But given the shifting political winds (including the election of Supervisors Matt Dorsey and Joel Engardio), we may be able to make growth possible again.
As has historically been the case for San Francisco, there is good with the bad, and the city makes its way from boom to bust. But just like the people of this city, SF is always growing and capable of reinvention, so it is only a matter of time before it’s riding high again!
Tenderloin Merchants not getting their money’s worth
Following in the steps of the Castro Merchants Association, a group of Tenderloin business owners have banded together to let the city know that they’ve had enough…and they want their money back.
The 135 business and property owners comprising the Tenderloin Business Coalition are demanding a refund of their 2022 taxes. They are faced daily with unsanitary and unsafe conditions, from trash and waste to open air drug dealing and usage. They say that patrons are often afraid to visit their locations (and may face harassment if they do).
Many of these owners match the demographics of the neighborhood: they are often women, people of color, and immigrants. They are asking for something that all San Franciscans should have: safety, and the space and freedom to do their jobs without fear. Unfortunately, their district Supervisor, Dean Preston, does not feel this way…so maybe they SHOULD get their money back.
Supervisor Ronen considers homeless shelters
The last “point-in-time” count of homeless people in San Francisco showed nearly 700 people in the Mission are homeless. Now a small shelter composed of 60 “micro homes” is potentially slated to open at 1979 Mission (the long-vacant space at the 16th & Mission BART station).
GrowSF loves these tiny homes because they’re a low cost and high quality way to get people indoors. They’re being used to great effect at 33 Gough St, providing transitional housing for 70 people.
But instead of just doing it, Supervisor Ronen wants to first spend months or years collecting “community input.” Too often this input process ends up killing these vitally needed and affordable solutions, keeping San Francisco locked in a crisis.
We don’t have time to wait and money to waste, let’s just do it already!
Your Action Plan
Now that you know what’s happening, help us shape what happens next:
Learn how to run for Board of Education
Educating the next generation is one of the most important things a society can do, and it takes willing and capable people to make it happen! We’ve all learned what can happen if unserious people are put in charge; don’t let this happen again!
Learn more about what it takes to be a Board of Education commissioner, and if you are interested, consider joining the SF Parents fellowship!
Celebrate San Francisco
There’s a lot to love about our city. Here’s what makes it great:
Adopt a drain
It takes a village to run a city! Help keep your neighbors from flooding by adopting a storm drain near you!
Thank you for District 8 Supervisor Candidate Kate Stoia for her hard work protecting her neighborhood from floods!
San Francisco internet radio renaissance
Jam out while you’re stuck indoors due to the atmospheric river. There are a number of SF-based internet radio stations pumping out tunes, interviewing your fellow San Franciscans, and building community.
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Yes, there is good stuff on Twitter. Here’s some of it: