Business leaders join Mayor London Breed to call upon City Departments and the Board of Supervisors to commit every spare dollar towards behavioral health, street cleanliness and street safety, announce new efforts to clean downtown streets and merchant corridors
San Francisco, CA – Business leaders today joined Mayor London Breed to commit to making whatever sacrifices necessary to improve street conditions in San Francisco. Business leaders echoed Mayor Breed’s call to City Departments and Supervisors to commit every spare dollar to behavioral health services, street cleanliness, and street safety. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce announced their 2020 StreetCareSF Campaign, which will provide street safety tools to small businesses and mobilize residents to call for better street cleaning from their local Supervisors. This coincides with the launch of the recently approved Downtown Community Benefits District, which will bring new street cleaning services to downtown areas.
Mayor London Breed has led major efforts to create clean and safe streets for San Francisco residents and visitors, including expanding street cleaning, continuing the pilot program for 24- hour staffed public restrooms, opening new behavioral health beds and services for those suffering from substance abuse and homelessness, and opening the new SAFE Embarcadero Navigation Center as part of her effort to open 1,000 new shelter beds by 2020.
“San Francisco is a world-class city, but it’s no secret that we need to address the challenges we see on our streets,” said Mayor London Breed. “We’re continuing to invest in expanded street cleaning, new Pit Stops, and new BigBelly trash cans throughout the City. We’re adding more shelters and affordable housing to help people off the streets and into housing, and our new Mental Health SF program will address the issues we face around addiction and mental health. These have to be our top priorities in the upcoming budget because we want everyone who lives, works, and visits here to experience the best that San Francisco has to offer.”
Today, Mayor Breed initiated San Francisco’s annual budget process by issuing her official budget instructions to all City Departments. As part of these instructions, Mayor Breed directed all City Departments to focus funding on addressing homelessness, behavioral health, and street conditions in their proposed departmental budgets, which will be submitted to the Mayor for review in March.
“This is a tipping point for our local economy,” said Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “As business leaders, we are joining Mayor London Breed to go “all in” on creating clean and safe streets for all our residents. If we do not act today, it will simply be too late. Our Board of Supervisors must direct every spare dollar in the City’s budget to addressing the crisis on our streets. It is the top priority of our residents and small businesses, and it’s time that it was the top priority for our Supervisors.”
The SF Chamber of Commerce is launching their new StreetCareSF Campaign in 2020, as part of the business community’s deep commitment to improving street conditions in San Francisco. The StreetCareSF Campaign will assist small businesses in our neighborhood merchant corridors in installing street safety measures, such as enhanced sidewalk lighting and window protection.
The newly-formed Downtown Community Benefit District, funded by a coalition of property owners in the Financial District and Jackson Square, will bring new street cleaning services to downtown streets. The Downtown Community Benefit District will also hire non-profit caseworkers to address incidents of mental illness and substance abuse, as well as attendants to improve graffiti abatement and street cleaning.
Tourism and conventions are critical drivers of San Francisco’s economy. Studies from SF Travel show that visitors spend more than $10 billion annually in San Francisco, supporting over 82,000 jobs. Conventions provide $1.7 billion dollars of visitor revenue to the local economy. Tourism provides $771 million in local tax revenue, which funds public safety, homeless services, and parks for San Franciscans.
“Ensuring that our visitors encounter clean streets and feel safe while they are here is essential to keeping the economic impact of tourism flowing into all businesses in San Francisco, especially small businesses,” said Joe D’Alessandro, President and CEO of SF Travel.
“San Francisco small businesses are facing a crisis and one of the biggest problems are our unsafe and unhealthy streets,” said Benjamin Bleiman, a small business owner. “We can’t stand idly by and watch as our small businesses disappear completely from our communities. We praise Mayor Breed for her bold action on this issue. We ask for all of our elected officials to stand with Mayor Breed to address this crisis immediately.”
“Addressing the crisis on our streets must happen to keep our residents, employees and guests safe,” Kevin Carroll, President and CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, said. “We stand with the Mayor in requesting the Board of Supervisors commit the resources needed for all to feel safe in our world class city.”
About San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce represents over a thousand local businesses in the City, ranging from small legacy restaurants to large innovation companies. Over 80% of SF Chamber members are small, locally-owned businesses. The SF Chamber advocates for a progressive economy and high quality of life for everyone who lives, works and visits the City. Learn more at www.sfchamber.com.
About San Francisco Travel Association
The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. Tourism, San Francisco’s largest industry, generated recordbreaking numbers in 2018. More than 25.8 million people visited the destination, spending in excess of $10 billion. More than 82,500 jobs are supported by tourism in San Francisco. Learn more at www.sftravel.com.
About San Francisco Hotel Council
The Hotel Council of San Francisco is the voice of San Francisco’s hotels. Established in 1987, the Hotel Council represents the city’s leading hotels of all sizes and includes members from businesses and industries that are major suppliers. Learn more at www.hotelcouncilsf.org.
For Immediate Release: December 16th, 2019
Media Contact: Jay Cheng, SF Chamber of Commerce, 408-691-0423