In another financial blow to law enforcement, San Francisco city leadership recently announced the controversial "Dream Keeper Initiative."
On February 25, London Breed, the city's Democratic mayor, announced that $120 million of the city's police budget will instead be funneled to Black communities within the city over the next two years.
According to KQED,
“The Dream Keeper Initiative,” as it’s dubbed, increases investments in workforce development, health campaigns, youth and cultural programs and housing support. The allocations reflect spending priorities conveyed by Black residents during a series of community meetings and public surveys led last year by the city’s Human Rights Commission, Breed said.
Black people make up only about 5% of San Francisco’s population — a proportion that has consistently decreased in the last 50 years — but make up nearly 40% of its homeless residents. Black residents have among the city’s highest mortality rates and lowest median household incomes, and are involved in a disproportionately high percentage of police use-of-force incidents.
This closely mirrors actions by Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, who promised to cut $150 million, or more than 10 percent of the city's police budget. These funds will also be invested into diverse communities.
While significant funding is being diverted away from law enforcement, San Francisco residents are living in the middle of a significant crime wave. In 2020, the city's homicides went up 35 percent, along with an increase in petty crimes and public nuisance violations.
Mayor Breed's recent announcement came after pressure from groups such as Black Lives Matter who are calling for police to be defunded.
What this initiative is going to look like consists of:
$7 million for guaranteed income;
$14.9 million for restorative justice programs and culturally competent mental health services;
$10 million in housing support and stabilization;
$6.6 million for Black-led nonprofits offering technical workforce training;
$6 million for workforce training and development programs for youth and adults;
$4.8 million to increase diversity in the city’s hiring pipeline;
$3 million for Black-owned small businesses;
and $7.7 million for an assortment of other initiatives, including early education programs, African American cultural spaces and commercial corridors.