Health and recovery bond passes unanimously at Board of Supervisors

The $487.5 million Bond for the November 2020 ballot will fund essential City infrastructure and support San Franciscans’ mental and physical health with new investments in parks, open spaces, behavioral health facilities, and housing and shelter for the vulnerable

SAN FRANCISCO – The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support the Health and Recovery General Obligation Bond for the November 2020 ballot. Mayor London N. Breed introduced the Bond in May to fund priority investments in mental health and homelessness, parks and recreation spaces, and essential public infrastructure.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted to unanimously support the Health and Recovery Obligation Bond intended for the November 2020 ballot which was first introduced by Mayor London Breed in May. | Photo from www.sfgov.org

“The Health and Recovery Bond comes at a critical time for our city. We are still in the midst of a public health emergency and we’re seeing record rates of unemployment as a result. We need to invest in the health and economic wellbeing our entire community,” said Mayor Breed. “COVID-19 has shown us just how important it is to have safe and accessible outdoor spaces and recreation opportunities, and has underscored the need to create more permanent supportive housing, while improving our behavioral health resources.”

The Health and Recovery Bond is the result of a collaborative effort, and reflects input from multiple City departments, the Board of Supervisors, and community members. If approved by voters with a 2/3 vote in November 2020, the Bond will provide $487.5 million for three main categories of investment: health and homelessness; parks and open spaces; and right-of-way repair, including street resurfacing, curb ramps, and street structures and plazas, all with the goal of supporting economic recovery and the health of those experiencing homelessness and struggling with substance use and mental health disorders.

In November 2019, Mayor Breed asked the City Administrator to reprioritize the General Obligation Bond program to reflect and address the urgency of San Francisco’s mental health and homelessness crisis. More recently, with the rise of the COVID-19 and associated increase in unemployment, there is also an urgent need to invest in shovel-ready projects and programs which can put San Franciscans back to work and stimulate our economy. It is estimated that for every $1 million spent on construction, an estimated 5.93 jobs are created.

Health and Homelessness

An estimated $207 million from the Health and Recovery Bond will fund investments in public facilities that provide housing and/or treatment to people struggling with homelessness and mental health and substance use disorders. Specifically, the Bond will provide funding for Permanent Supportive Housing, transitional housing and shelter, and mental health and substance use disorder facilities

Parks and Open Spaces

Approximately $239 million of the Bond will be dedicated to neighborhood parks projects and a variety of programs that support recreation and open spaces. The funding will improve several of the City’s parks and recreation centers, playgrounds, and open spaces.

The Bond includes funding for citywide parks and investments in priority recovery parks, which are City parks that will increase residents’ quality of life and provide places to relax, enjoy nature, play, and exercise. Additionally, the Bond will allow the City make investments in sustainability programs, the Community Opportunity Fund, community gardens, and trails.

Right-of-Way Repair

An estimated $41.5 million will go toward right-of-way repair, including street resurfacing, curb ramps, and street structures and plazas. These improvements will make it safer and more accessible for people to move around the city. This includes $31.5 million for investing in street resurfacing; $5 million for the design, construction and maintenance of ADA-compliant accessible curb ramps; and $5 million for the repair and maintenance of street structures.

“Recovery takes on a new meaning for all of us. Not only do we need to recover from the economic downturn, but we need to heal the collective trauma felt by communities devastatingly impacted by the health crisis, isolation, and ongoing uncertainty,” said President Norman Yee. “This Bond is about San Franciscans’ overall health. It will support jobs, expand mental health services, and revitalize our treasured open spaces and playgrounds, which have become critical to our well-being during Shelter-in-Place, especially for children and families.”

“This November, San Francisco voters have the opportunity to secure a major investment in our City’s recovery and the wellbeing of our communities,” said Supervisor and Budget Chair Sandra Lee Fewer. “This bond also delivers resources to our parks and public spaces, funding much needed repairs, renovations and fulfilling commitments to the San Francisco community. This is a difficult time for so many, but also an opportune time to pass a bond that invests so deeply in San Francisco’s health and recovery.”

“For San Francisco to reopen everyday life, including schools and businesses, we have to be able to contain the contagion and prevent ongoing spikes,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “Now, more than ever, it is essential that we have safe housing options for vulnerable people on our streets, address major gaps in mental and behavioral healthcare, and expand access to parks and urban agriculture opportunities. This bond is an essential piece of our recovery, and I hope that the voters will join me to enthusiastically support it in November.”

“The Health and Recovery Bond meets critical needs like parks and healthcare identified in San Francisco’s Ten-Year Capital Plan,” said City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly. “In these tough times, it is critical to build a resilient and vibrant future for San Francisco and create high paying construction jobs while ensuring that that property tax rates will not increase.”

“Safe, healthy public spaces are essential to our mental and physical health, as well as our city’s recovery,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “The park projects invest in the wellbeing of our communities, particularly those hit hardest by the pandemic and its economic impact. It is an investment that will pay dividends for generations.”

“People experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder and mental illness are among the most vulnerable in our City. We are fortunate that so many San Francisco leaders and residents care about improving the circumstances, housing support and systems of care for people struggling with these difficult issues,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health.

“We know that wellness and recovery are possible, but it takes smart investment, a commitment to improvement and a recognition that housing and treatment cannot be decoupled. I am grateful to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors for including these important services in the upcoming bond.”

“By investing in shovel-ready public infrastructure projects, this bond will help rebuild San Francisco’s economy while addressing capital needs in the public right of way and public spaces,” said Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried. “If passed by voters in November, this bond measure will help make our outdoor spaces safer and more accessible.”

The Health and Recovery General Obligation Bond is in line with the most recently updated 10-year Capital Plan. Property taxes levied for general obligation bonds including this bond, if approved by the voters and issued by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors, are expected to be maintained at or below the Fiscal Year 2006 rate.

More information about the 2020 Health and Recovery General Obligation Bond is available by visiting https://sfgov.legistar.com/.
(From SF Mayor’s Press Office)

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