The project in question is for the Noe Valley neighborhood, which wants a public toilet for its Town Square. The problem is the price tag: $1.7 million.
State funds will not be forthcoming for the project, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office told the San Francisco Chronicle this week amid mounting controversy. Republicans have hammered Newsom, a Democrat, over the state’s homelessness problem, with San Francisco a prime example.
“A single, small bathroom should not cost $1.7 million,” Erin Mellon, the governor’s communications director, wrote in a statement. “The state will hold funding until San Francisco delivers a plan to use this public money more efficiently. If they cannot, we will go back to the legislature to revoke this appropriation.”
Six years later, neither the mandate nor the money has proved to be nearly enough. In 2016, Los Angeles had about 28,000 homeless residents, of whom around 21,000 were unsheltered (that is, living on the street). The current count is closer to 42,000 homeless residents, with 28,000 unsheltered. Prop HHH has built units, but slowly, and at eye-popping cost. The city says that 3,357 units have been built, and the most recent audit found the average cost was $596,846 for units under construction — more than the median sale price for a home in Denver. Some units under construction have cost more than $700,000 to build.