Mayor London Breed said federal funding will help city build up its homelessness prevention efforts and create more affordable housing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Mayor London Breed said federal funding will help city build up its homelessness prevention efforts and create more affordable housing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Breed: Federal funding will allow city to build housing on ‘unimaginable’ scale

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and other elected officials to discuss nearly $5 billion in federal funding that will go to help solve the homelessness crisis nationwide.

The supplemental funding, known as HOME-ARP, is part of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden last month.

The HOME-ARP funds were awarded to 651 municipalities, including San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, for the creation of affordable and supportive housing, rental assistance programs, and increased services for people experiencing homelessness. San Francisco is set to receive over $18 million.

During the virtual chat on Friday, Fudge said with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, the funds are desperately needed by the estimated more than 500,000 individuals and families experiencing homelessness throughout the U.S.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored just how important it is for every person to have access to safe and stable housing. HUD is committed to ongoing collaborative partnerships with our communities to make this a reality,” Fudge said.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has been a sea change for cities across America but one of the most profound challenges we face, particularly on the West Coast, is the challenge of homelessness,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said.

“This pandemic has exacerbated a housing and affordability crisis throughout the country, but this was an issue that San Francisco has been facing for years,” Breed said.

“The $18.7 million in direct flexible funding from the American Rescue Plan, combined with our state and local resources, allows us to build up our homelessness prevention efforts and create more affordable housing on a scale that was really unimaginable,” she said.

The newly allocated federal funding comes at a critical time for the city, which continues to provide shelter for some 2,000 people experiencing homelessness through the city’s Shelter-In-Place, or SIP, hotel program.

In addition, earlier this month, Breed announced she appointed Shireen McSpadden to serve as the new director of the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, replacing former interim director Abigail Stewart-Kahn, who stepped into the role last year when the COVID-19 pandemic put plans to find a new department leader on hold.

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