$487.5M bond lands on ballot for homeless, mental health, parks

San Francisco Examiner, July 14, 2020

By Joshua Sabatini


Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors came together Tuesday to unanimously place on the November ballot a $487.5 million bond to fund parks, streets, housing for homeless and mental health treatment beds.


The “Health and Recovery” general obligation bond, funded through property taxes, is seen as a way to help stimulate the local economy during the COVID-19 recession, address The City’s pressing challenges around homelessness and mental health and renovate a number of valued neighborhood parks.


“The Health and Recovery Bond comes at a critical time for our city,” Breed said in a statement after the board voted 11-0 to place the bond on the Nov. 3 ballot. “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 bond requires two-thirds of the vote to pass.


Of the total bond, about $207 million will pay for health and homeless needs, including treatment beds for those with mental health or substance use disorders, and permanent supportive housing.


An additional $239 million will go toward parks projects, which includes $54 million for the renovation of Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square, $30 million for Gene Friend Recreation Center in SoMa, and $29 million for India Basin in the Bayview for a waterfront park.


The remaining $41.5 million will go toward repaving city street and curb ramps.


The bond is timed to not raise people’s property taxes beyond the 2006 level. Fifty percent of the tax can be passed on to tenants.


Supervisor Hillary Ronen said in a statement that “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.”

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