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San Francisco to hold special election for $390 million proposed bond

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(The Center Square) San Francisco is holding a special election for residents to vote on a $390 million bond, with millions going to supportive housing while forecasting a $3 billion-dollar deficit.

The election will be held on Nov. 5, 2024. According to a June 26 Budget and finance committee agenda document, $50 million of the proposed bond funds will go to supportive housing.

Mayor London Breed introduced the $390 million bond for the November ballot in May, stating the money would go to four main categories: public health infrastructure projects, shelter and housing for homeless families, street safety improvements and road repaving citywide, and public space and park improvements projects.

“We are working every day to make San Francisco a vibrant and healthy city,” said Mayor London Breed in the press release. “This bond will invest in our critical infrastructure and advance projects that create jobs and prioritize important civic needs. It will create safer streets and smoother roads, deliver welcoming and vibrant plazas and public spaces, support families, and strengthen our public health institutions that serve all of our residents. This is how we build a stronger, thriving San Francisco.”

The bond will invest $50 million to support the growing need for family housing and shelter throughout the city. The city currently has 330 units of family shelter and transitional housing and over 2,300 units of family housing for the Homeless Response System.

The document states that the city shelters over 3,500 people per night through various shelter programs and that “the City’s financial resources have not kept pace with demand.”

Supervisor Connie Chan had issues with how the bond money would be spent but didn’t want to cut back spending on other matters.

“We must prioritize the health and safety of San Franciscans and those who provide them care. I ask that you prioritize the city’s bond dollars and capital investments in public health projects,” Chan said in a letter to the mayor, suggesting the city find other sources of taxpayer dollars to fund its infrastructure needs.

The city has spent over $660 million on supportive housing according to the 2024-25 proposed budget, a slight decline from the $690 million spent in 2023-24.

As previously reported by The Center Square, the city projected a combined deficit of $3 billion over the next five years. The city has continued to chip away at the deficit, in part by raising fees for entertainment and other businesses.

As of the Jan. 30, 2024, Point in time count, San Francisco had a combined number of 8,323 sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness. A 7% increase from 2022, according to the report.

There has been a 39% increase in the number of people staying in shelters since 2019.

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