Mayor’s Upcoming Proposed Fiscal Year 2012-13 & 2013-14 Budget Prioritizes Invest in Neighborhoods Strategy & Creation of Jobs Squad
Mayor Lee was joined by Board Budget Chair Supervisor Carmen Chu, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, area business owners, neighborhood residents and leaders, community-based groups and City department heads to make the announcement in Little Saigon in the Uptown Tenderloin Historic District neighborhood.
“We are strengthening small businesses and entire neighborhood commercial districts,” said Mayor Lee. “This requires real resources and an ‘all hands on deck’ approach from City departments, business owners, and neighborhood leaders. By bringing a substantial commitment of new support, we are replacing vacant store fronts with vibrant small businesses. We will continue to invest in our existing small businesses, the jobs they create and aid entrepreneurs looking to open up shop in our City.”
In the first phase of the Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative, Mayor Lee is proposing to provide more than $1.5 million dollars to neighborhood commercial districts over the next two years. The Mayor’s proposed budget for neighborhood commercial districts represents more than double the annual average funding for neighborhood commercial districts in recent years.
Mayor Lee is also allocating $4 million over the next two years to dramatically expand loan funds and other grants and support specifically targeted for neighborhood small businesses. This is in addition to the $1 million for the Small Business Revolving Loan fund that was recently replenished with the unanimous support of the Board of Supervisors. Included in the $4 million are neighborhood improvement programs including a new centralized vacancy tracking system, a new targeted business recruitment program for high-vacancy commercial districts and a mini-grant program targeted at merchant and neighborhood groups.
Invest in Neighborhoods will leverage another new initiative, Jobs Squad, for which the Mayor also announced today. The Job Squad will first consist of two new staff people in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to get out to into commercial corridors to offer direct assistance, cut red tape and navigate City government and services. The Job Squad will work with the City’s Office of Civic Engagement, Office of Small Business, OEWD and other City Departments to help small businesses access City programs and services that can help them navigate City requirements and rules. The commitment follows through on a campaign pledge Mayor Lee made to send City representatives out to businesses across the City, bringing the services of the City Hall Small Business Assistance Center directly to small business owners.
In February, Mayor Lee established the Invest in Neighborhoods Working Group, a collaboration among City agencies and nonprofit partners. Twenty-five neighborhood commercial districts will be selected in conjunction with the Board of Supervisors over the next month. The Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative and Jobs Squad are part of Mayor Lee’s 17-point Roadmap to Good Jobs and Opportunity plan to create jobs and promote smart economic growth and development for San Francisco.