State and Local Budget Reductions Will Negatively Impact San Franciscans Who Are Struggling To Make Ends Meet
Statement from San Francisco Human Services Commission President Scott Kahn in Response to the State's proposed budget
San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Human Services Commission President Scott Kahn today issued the following statement in response to proposed state and local budget reductions that will negatively impact San Francisco residents who receive government assistance for food, health care, financial, employment, child care, and protective services.
“The City and County of San Francisco is facing challenging times with a growing budget deficit in the coming years, and it is making difficult decisions on budget reductions across City departments. There are no easy solutions – only tough conversations. Not one department is spared from these considerations – including the San Francisco Human Services Agency (SFHSA).
The Governor’s proposed budget, combined with the reductions necessary to help the City close its budget shortfall, will result in reductions of over $34 million in fiscal year 2024-25 and $27 million in fiscal year 2025-26 for SFHSA. Most critically, the majority of the state’s proposed cuts will negatively impact San Francisco’s poorest families receiving CalWORKs. Each month, 3,600 low-income families receive monthly cash assistance through CalWORKs. Eight in ten children on CalWORKs have a parent who is deceased or absent from the home. In fact, of the 10,200 people who CalWORKs serves, 60% are children. The Governor’s proposed budget reduces SFHSA’s ability to provide intensive and dynamic case management to families during times of crisis, including emergency services for families experiencing homelessness and mental health crises, or when they need employment supports such as education, job readiness activities, and training.
Moreover, the Governor’s proposed budget eliminates all state funding for SFHSA’s JobsNow! Program. JobsNow! helps low-income jobseekers access employment opportunities by providing salary subsidies to small businesses of $4,000 per month for full-time hires for up to six months. Through these subsidies, JobsNow! enables over 1,000 low-income San Franciscans searching for work get a ‘foot in the door’ each year, while also assisting employers, including small businesses, navigate the fluctuating economy by supporting their workforce needs and facilitating over 32,000 job placements over the lifetime of this program. As a result of the state’s proposed budget cuts, clients will not have access to the same job opportunities.
Budget cuts of this magnitude also have a significant impact on SFHSA’s staffing: SFHSA may not be able to fill vacant direct service staff positions, which are desperately needed to provide vital services for clients. As a result, clients could experience much longer wait times to meet with case workers to apply for public benefits, longer processing times for renewals, and less time with social workers who help families out of crisis, among others. SFHSA will most likely also need to reduce or eliminate contracts with non-profit organizations that provide direct services to clients in the community.
I am deeply concerned that SFHSA’s most vulnerable families will be heavily impacted by these budget reductions at a time when so many of them are already struggling to make ends meet. With ongoing inflationary pressures and families still recovering from the economic fallout from the pandemic, now is not the time to reduce or eliminate programs and services that enable families to support themselves, especially in an already challenging economic environment.
As President of the San Francisco Human Services Commission, I will continue to champion SFHSA's commitments to maintain these critical safety net programs for our clients, and call upon our local and state leaders to do everything they can to protect these critical services and minimize the impact to our most vulnerable.”