We checked in with the mayor of San Francisco on how she’s managing this difficult term.
What’s your mission as mayor? My focus has been to make San Francisco a more equitable and affordable place to live. COVID-19 has only exacerbated the existing crises we have faced for years. We don’t have time to waste in addressing the issues we face around housing, homelessness and small businesses.
What’s been your biggest challenge doing this? There have been several significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a lack of adequate federal leadership from the White House, early challenges with testing and PPE supply, the disproportionate impact of the virus on people of color and low-income San Franciscans, and severe economic challenges. This virus has shown that it targets disparities in our society.
How have you worked to address this? San Francisco’s response to COVID-19 has been based in science, data and facts. We’ve been listening to our public health experts every step of the way. We worked to quickly set up city COVID-19 testing sites and implement a contact tracing program. To ease some of economic hardship and financial insecurity, we created the Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Give2SF has supported numerous programs to ensure people have enough to eat and can pay rent and afford other basic necessities. There is so much need out there, and sadly, we don’t have the resources to get everyone the ongoing assistance they need. That is why it’s so critical that the federal government step up and do more to ensure people have the support they need.
How do you see others helping? Neighbors are looking out for one another. People are getting groceries for those who cannot leave their homes and helping vulnerable individuals get connected to city services. People are volunteering to make face coverings for healthcare workers, and companies have stepped up to provide personal protective equipment and support additional testing. It is these acts of kindness that make this challenging time more bearable. Even though it feels like our current situation will never change, there will be a time when this is behind us. When that time comes, I hope we can look back on this difficult period and know we did all we could to take care of each other.
Photography by: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images