San Francisco voters approved the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing oversight commission in November over Mayor Breed’s objections, but she still gets to pick most of the commission, which she did Tuesday.
In the wake of Mayor Ed Lee’s controversial 2016 Super Bowl tent sweeps, Lee created the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH), meant to streamline a disjointed $241 million budget spread among 76 mostly nonprofit organizations who provide homeless shelter and services in the city. Five years later, that department’s budget had more than quadrupled, with seemingly not much better results.
An April 2022 Chronicle investigation found squalid conditions despite SRO landlords being paid well, leading to calls for a HSH oversight commission to make sure a budget that swelled to $1.1 billion was being spent a little more shrewdly. Breed opposed such a commission, because essentially, she was the commission, and argued that more bureaucracy would not help transparency or efficiency. Nonetheless, voters approved the HSH oversight commission by a 67%-33% margin last November, and now that body is coming together.
It’s a seven-member commission; Breed gets to name four members, the Board of Supervisors gets three picks for the commission, and the board can veto Breed's nominees. The Chronicle reports Breed named her four members Tuesday, to the commission that her office says will be tasked with “approving budgets, reviewing contracts, and providing policy oversight.”
Most are not familiar names, with the exception of Sharky Laguana, who served as the president of the SF Small Business Commission from 2020-22, was formerly homeless as a teen, and plays in the band Creeper Lagoon. Her other picks are Heirloom head of global public policy and external affairs Vikrum Aiyer, Safe and Sound senior advisor Katie Albright, and San Francisco African American Faith-Based Coalition executive director Dr. Jonathon Butler.
The Board of Supervisors has not yet named their nominees. Once appointed and approved, each will serve a four-year term beginning May 1, 2023.
Image: @LondonBreed via Twitter