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San Francisco Housing Advocates Call for Real Estate Tax Funds to Go to Rent Relief

Advocates for tenants in San Francisco are calling on Mayor London Breed to set aside more money for rent relief in next year’s budget by tapping into funds from a tax measure voters approved last year.

San Francisco renters and property owners are already expected to receive $91 million in rent relief as part of the federal COVID support package, but Supervisor Dean Preston says those funds haven’t arrived yet.

“Even if all that money arrived tomorrow, next week, in a month, (it) would not cover a fraction of the rent debt that is hanging over the heads of San Francisco renters,” Preston said.

He and advocates are urging the mayor to fund rent relief through Proposition I, which increases real estate transfer taxes and passed with 58% of the vote in 2020.

While the proposition was passed as a general tax measure, Preston and other proponents asserted it would ultimately fund rent relief and affordable housing.

Breed has previously said she wouldn’t commit to using the funds for any single purpose. When asked to comment on the latest call to allocate the money toward housing, the mayor’s office replied she is “in the process of finalizing her balanced two-year budget that will be submitted by June 1 to the Board of Supervisors for consideration.”

—Erika Kelly

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