San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on Tuesday that she would be adding a $6.5 million, five-year program to end all transgender homeless in San Francisco by 2027 to her upcoming two-year city budget proposal.
According to her plan that was outlined in a press release from her office, several transgender and gender non-conforming homeless groups will be working in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office on Housing and Community Development, the SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, the SF Department of Public Health, and the SF Office of Transgender Initiatives to alleviate the issue.
The plan will cover the approximately 400 transgender and gender non-conforming homeless currently in the city, as well as any future transgender homeless. To begin, the proposed funding would go towards at least 150 long term investments through the San Francisco Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool program , as well as for buying and setting up new permanent supportive housing for transgender homeless. Transition age youth will specifically be targeted for homeless relief.
In addition, the plan also outlines $6 million being spent over two years on short-term rental subsidies, flexible financial assistance, and support for transgender homeless, with $500,000 to go to behavioral and mental health services for transgender people who are currently homeless or are at-risk for homelessness.
Mayor Breed added the proposed budget funding due to the high number of homeless transgender and non-gender conforming people in the city shooting up quickly in recent years. By following the model of Our Trans Home SF, Mayor Breed hopes to eliminate transgender homelessness by 2027.
“Transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming San Franciscans are eighteen times more likely to experience homelessness compared to the general population, and we know that the rates are even higher for our minority trans communities,” said Mayor Breed in a Tuesday statement. “With one of the largest TGNC populations in the country, we not only must ensure that all San Franciscans have access to housing and essential resources through continued investments, but we can show the country that we continue to be a leader on supporting and protecting our trans communities.”
In a tweet, Breed added, “Today I announced my 5-year plan to end transgender homelessness in San Francisco, which includes investing in programs that support and create real long-term change in the lives of transgender people.”
Today I announced my 5-year plan to end transgender homelessness in San Francisco, which includes investing in programs that support and create real long-term change in the lives of transgender people. @SF_HSH @SF_DPH @sfmohcd @TransCitySF https://t.co/mdEPEx01TS
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) May 31, 2022
A five-year, $6.5 million proposal
Many transgender groups and city lawmakers voiced support for the proposed program on Tuesday.
“This is a groundbreaking initiative that meets the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals who are uniquely vulnerable to an array of health and safety challenges associated with unsheltered homelessness,” said Supervisor Matt Dorsey.
However, some on Tuesday called out Breed for over-specializing on where homeless relief goes.
“So many in San Francisco are experiencing homelessness,” said Zach Bremer, a former homeless man who now works in homeless job-finding services, to the Globe on Tuesday. “On any given day, 8,000 homeless people are in the city. The 400 transgender homeless people, while significant, are only a small part of that. I agree we need to help them get sheltered and fed, but we need to do that with everyone, not cherry pick who we want or what looks best for a political campaign.”
“And we’ve seen this happen in San Francisco and other cities. There are special programs for gay homeless people, young homeless people, elderly homeless people, black homeless people, and more, all with these pie in the sky promises of ending it or alleviating them to fight an issue. But then, even with funding, it goes out of control, only helps some, and then the homeless discourse picks a new group to focus on within. This year is transgender.”
“What’s most effective is short-term housing transitioning to affordable rented units through job placement, subsidies, scholarships, and other ways, with healthcare and mental health assistance being offered as well to make sure they don’t go back to the streets. It’s easier said than done of course, but those are steps in the right direction. Picking and choosing which homeless groups to specifically help ignores so many others. Some say it’s more of a question of vulnerability or need, and yes, it can be done by a case by case basis. Of course a homeless mother with kids needs quicker placement than others. But you can’t just give broad funding to a certain group and just hope the problem then goes away.. Those plans have never worked in the past because that funding then ends and newly homeless people under that banner won’t get the same help.”
“Breed’s intentions are good, but this will probably not end the way she thinks it will.”
Mayor Breed is expected to announce her full budget proposal on June 1st. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will then have until July 1st to amend and approve the Mayor’s budget proposal.