San Francisco, California was one of the hardest areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and while infection rates have been dropping steadily over the past two months, the city is still reeling from the pandemic’s economic impact. Like many other cities across the country, San Francisco’s art scene has been dramatically impacted by COVID-19, however a new program may help them regain their footing.
The city’s mayor London Breed has unveiled plans to launch a $1,000 universal basic income (UBI) program to provide up to 130 local artists, teaching artists, arts organizations and cultural workers $1,000 a month for at least six months starting early 2021.
This is just one of the many programs the city has planned to help counter an anticipated budget deficit of $1.6 billion, caused by the pandemic. Other programs that are proposed include funding new public works projects, reducing regulations on businesses and extending the Shared Spaces program, which will allow businesses to expand into public areas.
“The recommendations released today are a reflection of the immediate needs and aspirations of our Task Force and community. I am especially proud that we never lost sight of the need to rebuild more equitably so that all our communities can prosper,” Assessor Carmen Chu, ERTF Co-Chair, told a local CBS outlet.
This announcement comes at a dire time for the arts community, who have been battling the Bay Area’s widespread gentrification for decades. A survey of San Francisco artists from 2015 showed that 70 percent of respondents moved out of the city due to rising rents, while the remaining 30 percent were concerned with rising rents.