San Francisco spends over $300 million per year on direct services to the homeless. This spending does not even cover all the extra police needed or the city workers who have to hose human feces off the sidewalks.
The city also receives federal reimbursements for homeless people placed in motels. So they are spending tens of millions in federal tax dollars for direct services as well. No one even knows how many total homeless people live in San Francisco. Estimates vary wildly, but everyone agrees that the homeless population is rising fast. After the passing of Prop C in 2018, the homeless population grew by about a third in one year. San Francisco has become a nationwide magnet for homeless people because of all the free services, California’s lavish food stamp program, and the decriminalization of shoplifting.
Mayor London Breed says she wants to increase city spending on the homeless to over $800 million per year for the next two years. Much of the existing spending on the homeless is paid for by a special new corporate revenue tax enacted by the passing of Proposition C in 2018. This tax now affects over 350 corporations in the city, who have to pay an average of .5% on all gross receipts to fund the city’s direct services to the homeless. Critics of the tax say it will wipe out thousands of jobs and drive corporations to leave.
Mayor Breed has no idea how she will pay another half-billion in direct services to the homeless.
In the last fiscal year, San Francisco spent $18.2 million in the past year to house 260 homeless people in tents.
The homeless had access to public restrooms, showers, and free food. However, no one seems to be able to explain why it cost $60k per year per homeless person.
San Francisco’s cost of living is among the highest in the nation. However, the city still could have housed the homeless in studio apartments for $2k per month and fed them well for $1k per month.
San Francisco leaders are asking for another $15 million to continue housing 260 homeless people in tents for another year.
So why does San Francsico even need these “tent villages” when the city gives tens of millions per year to homeless shelters?
While the city lavishly funds a multitude of homeless shelters, city leaders orders these shelters to reduce capacity in the name of fighting Covid-19.