Service Providers Warn Budget Cuts Could Amplify Displacement Wave
August 14, 2020

San Francisco Public Press, by Noah Arroyo & Brian Howey

San Francisco’s housing and homelessness service providers worry that City Hall’s budget decisions will leave them unprepared to face an expected wave of housing displacement.

Interviews with staffers at a dozen nonprofits found that calls for assistance have increased by at least 30% and at some organizations by as much as 200% since March when the pandemic forced San Francisco residents to shelter in place amid a recession characterized by widespread income loss. Many providers are concerned expected city budget cuts will hobble their ability to provide vital aid like rental assistance, legal representation in eviction cases, food and emergency shelter, just when clients need help the most.

One likely outcome of expected cutbacks they predicted: a worsening of the city’s already daunting homelessness crisis.

“We’re all bracing ourselves for a huge growth in the numbers of those who are living on the streets, no question,” said Sara Shortt, director of public policy and community outreach at the Community Housing Partnership, a supportive housing nonprofit. “Most of us walk down our streets and see so many people currently in tents or otherwise. To imagine that number getting bigger without the resources to address it is really scary and sad.”

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