San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee talks next steps in helping homeless

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee invited KTVU's Gasia Mikaelian to city hall to talk about his next steps in helping some of San Francisco's most vulnerable residents.

He said there are 1,800 homeless families in the city and with a new expansion of existing services those parents will have the child care they need to work toward a better life.

"With a $2.1 million contribution from the city, we can add 140 slots and take care of all the kids on the waiting list and have no waiting list for children of homeless families," he said. "You're going to see a lot of smiles when we announce this on Friday. Basically this is universal child care for homeless families."

The push to end homelessness comes at a time when even those making six figures may find themselves struggling.

Affordable housing is a far cry from the typical apartment: So far this year the San Francisco rental market is home to the highest price per square-foot in the world.

"Housing and homelessness are the two biggest challenges facing any city in the country today," said Lee.

Since the mayor took office in 2011 the unemployment rate has dropped from double digits to below three percent. All those jobs, coupled with San Francisco's beauty and mild climate, the mayor says it's no wonder San Francisco is so hot. "That intense willingness to want to live in an urban setting with all the culture, and what we have to do is do the right thing. Preserve their housing, small businesses... and we're doing everything we can."

Mayor Lee says he could not have predicted the speed with which certain parts of San Francisco, such as the mid-market corridor, have turned around.

There are many places where people are panhandling on the streets - while steps away others are in office buildings making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
 

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