President Joe Biden signed an executive order last Thursday, requiring the federal government to fund hotels in San Francisco that are used to give housing to homeless people, keeping them from sleeping in the streets.
Fund for the Homeless
Biden’s new order would reimburse specific types of emergency housing for the full price through September.
Home to one of the country’s largest homeless populations, San Francisco, spends $15 million to $18 million every month to accommodate more than 2,200 people across about 25 hotels. The president’s Thursday executive order included San Francisco’s hotel rooms but did not explain further how the housing program would be funded.
“I think it’s safe to say it will apply from now until September, for those that are eligible,” City Controller Ben Rosenfield said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has yet to provide Rosenfield’s team with detailed guidelines about the program.
Last year, the department said that until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would reimburse San Francisco’s housing program but did not provide specific information.
However, city officials were optimistic after hearing about Thursday’s news as the Trump administration was not transparent about when the program would have its funding cut. The uncertainty caused anxiety to build up among local leaders in trying to find accommodation for the homeless, Fox News reported.
The Bay Area had one of the largest disparities between its highest and lowest income earners across California last year. The California Budget and Policy Center released data that showed between 2006 and 2018, the state’s top 5% households grew by nearly 20%, while those in the lower 20% bracket fell by 20%.
The Homelessness Policy Research Institute observed the number of homeless people in California and saw that they increased by more than 22% between that time period.