Many businesses in San Francisco have boarded up their windows during the coronavirus shelter-in-place in response to a number of burglaries. (Sara Gaiser/S.F. Examiner)

Pilot program will help small businesses repair smashed windows

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has teamed up with Supervisor Dean Preston to create a first-of-its-kind victim assistance program for small neighborhood businesses that have had their windows smashed within the last six months, the pair announced Monday.

Under the pilot program, businesses in Preston’s supervisorial District 5, which includes neighborhoods like Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition, Hayes Valley, North Panhandle and Haight-Ashbury, can apply for funding to offset window repair costs.

According to both Boudin and Preston, the funding would provide crucial relief for the businesses, which are already facing numerous financial burdens as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses are barely making it, and many are closing,” Preston said in a statement. “I’m proud to partner with the District Attorney’s office on this creative approach to get crucial financial relief into the hands of struggling small businesses in District 5.” “

Victim assistance is a crucial component of my work as District Attorney of San Francisco,” Boudin said. “Too often, crime victims are left to shoulder the losses from crime. In California, we have programs to assist victims of violent crime, but no state funding to help victims of property crimes. That’s why I’m excited for this groundbreaking program to provide victim assistance to small businesses.”

Replacing a storefront window for a business can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000, with a normal insurance deductible of $1,000. Under the pilot program, businesses can be reimbursed up to $1,000 of the cost of replacing a storefront window with a maximum of two reimbursements per year.

Because the program is retroactive, business can apply for the costs of repairing a window that was broken on or after March 17, when the COVID-19 stay-at-home order first began. Eligible businesses include those that have a total annual revenue of less than $25 million. More information can be found at https://sfdistrictattorney.org/victim-services/district-5-broken-window-form/.

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