Breed announces $6.5M in budget plan to end trans homelessness in SF by 2027

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Tuesday May 31, 2022
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San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced as part of her proposed budget $6.5 million over two years to end trans homelessness in the city by 2027. Photo: Rick Gerharter<br>
San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced as part of her proposed budget $6.5 million over two years to end trans homelessness in the city by 2027. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced $6.5 million in her proposed budget for a plan to end trans homelessness in San Francisco by 2027.

Breed is expected to unveil her proposed two-year budget June 1.

According to a news release from her office, the plan to end trans homelessness will be a collaborative effort between the Mayor's Office on Housing and Community Development, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, the Department of Public Health, the Office of Transgender Initiatives, and nonprofit organizations serving transgender and gender-nonconforming people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.

The proposal makes San Francisco the first city in the U.S. to commit to ending homelessness for TGNC people, the mayor's office stated. The Board of Supervisors amends and approves the mayor's budget proposal before approving the city's two-year budget July 1.

The mayor's proposed two-year budget includes the following to begin implementation of the plan to end trans homelessness: at least 150 long-term housing subsidies through the city's Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool program and acquisition and operations for a new permanent supportive housing site for TGNC and LGBQ+ youth, with a focus on transition age youth

The plan also calls for $6 million over two years dedicated to fund short-term rental subsidies, flexible financial assistance, and support to build capacity among nonprofit providers serving TGNC residents and $500,000 to fund behavioral health services for TGNC individuals experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness, building on the $500,000 investment already supporting trans youth experiencing homelessness, according to the release.

"Transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming San Franciscans are 18 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," stated Breed. "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."

Shireen McSpadden, a bi woman who's executive director of DHSH, stated the proposed investments "are critical to advancing the city's equity strategies to improve services for our most vulnerable community members."

According to the mayor's office, there are an estimated 400 TGNC residents experiencing homelessness at any given time. The implementation of this plan will address the homelessness crisis within TGNC communities, in particular as it affects Black, Indigenous, Latina, and other trans women of color, the mayor's office stated. The plan to end trans homelessness will build on the successful model of Our Trans Home SF, the first TGNC-focused housing program in the nation, which the mayor announced in 2019. It opened in January 2020, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported.

Trans leaders applauded the proposal, even as some of them are at odds with Breed over the controversy of San Francisco Pride's policy of banning police officers from marching in uniform in the Pride parade. After LGBTQ first responders on May 23 said that they would skip the parade due to the ban, Breed and gay District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey said they would not march in the June 26 parade if the San Francisco Pride officials do not reverse their decision. That led leaders of the Transgender District stating that they would not attend Breed's June 2 Pride flag-raising ceremony at City Hall, as the B.A.R.'s Political Notes May 30 column noted.

The Castro LGBTQ Cultural District also said it would skip the flag-raising.

Nevertheless, trans leaders stated that they are on board with Breed's homelessness plan.

"Given our rich legacy of trans activism, San Francisco is well-positioned to lead the country and the world on ending homelessness for trans communities," stated Aria Sa'id, a trans woman who is co-founder, president, and chief strategist of the Transgender District. "With the continued support of city partners and the guidance of TGNC community leaders and residents, I am certain we will successfully resolve homelessness for trans San Franciscans within the next five years.

"As trans people, we have had to be bold and resilient to even survive, and by ensuring that all our TGNC residents have a safe place to call home, we will open the door towards truly providing equitable housing and economic solutions to trans people," Sa'id added.

The principle of ending trans homelessness by 2027 means that the existing trans homeless community would be stabilized and housed over the next five years, and any future trans people that become homeless would have the resources and support to get them housed quickly, making any instance of homelessness brief and rare, according to the mayor's office. DHSH will work with TGNC residents, TGNC-serving organizations, and the Office of Transgender Initiatives to integrate the ending trans homelessness plan into the city's strategic plan on homelessness, the release stated. The strategic plan will be completed this year and will guide future strategy and investments for address homelessness through an equity framework.

Trans leaders noted Breed's efforts on the TGNC housing issue.

"In recent years, Mayor Breed has worked tirelessly with TGNC-serving organizations to identify and address the key inequities facing trans San Franciscans," stated Michelle Cunningham-Denning, program manager of the TAJA Coalition, or the Trans Activist for Justice and Accountability Coalition, and member of the Our City, Our Home Oversight Committee.

"From founding Our Trans Home SF in 2019, the first trans-specific housing program in the country to expanding health and social services for our communities, she has shown her dedication to addressing the dire life circumstances that TGNC people face due to transphobia, anti-Blackness, racism, xenophobia, and more," Cunningham-Dunning stated. "As a community member and leader, it fills me with hope to witness the progress our communities are making, and I look forward to working with city and community leaders to make the dream of safe and stable housing for TGNC people a reality."

Sharyn Grayson, co-executive director of the Transgender, Gender-Nonconforming, and Intersex Justice Project, stated the nonprofit is "thrilled by the mayor's commitment to ending homelessness for our disproportionately impacted communities."

"These investments will allow us to prioritize equitable services for some of San Francisco's most vulnerable persons, and to provide safe, stable, and affordable housing, as well as wraparound services, to a community that is struggling to survive," Grayson stated.

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