By Joe Vazquez

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s Latino community continues to disproportionately bear the brunt of COVID-19, but that could soon change.

The mayor’s office announced on Thursday a $28.5 million boost to be allocated to the city’s Latino community to combat the virus. The money will go toward COCID-19 testing, including community pop-up hubs. Also, food support, housing subsidies and even eviction prevention.

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“We have to do a better job to address this disparity,” Mayor London Breed said on a UCSF zoom forum which focused on San Francisco’s flattening of the curve over the last 6 months.

As KPIX 5 recently reported, Latinos make up 15 percent of the city’s population and 51 percent of those testing positive for the virus. Many of them are frontline workers who go home to a crowded, multigenerational household.

“Yes, we see the number of cases continue to decline, hospitalization rates decline but there is still this disparity, which means that we have got to be aggressive and very deliberative about what we should be doing with this particular community in order to change what that disparity is,” Breed said. “And hopefully we will notice a difference in the next few weeks.”

Roberto Hernandez, who is a community leader in San Francisco’s Mission District, said he has been very frustrated for months with the city’s department heads because they recognized the disparity in the Latino community but couldn’t seem to organize a strategy. But talking directly to Breed, he said, made the difference.

“The city departments failed to communicate with us,” Hernandez said. “One meeting with the mayor and clearly she gave them all direction to get it together.”

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Hernandez said the new initiative will help with a community effort that has largely relied on volunteers.

The Mission Food Hub was created when the Carnaval San Francisco organization changed its focus after the annual parade was cancelled. The Mission Language Vocational School became a food bank. The city has recently begun covid-19 testing at the hub.

Click To Donate To The Mission Food Hub

“With the little that we’ve had, we’ve been able to just touch the iceberg. Now we’re going to be able to melt the ice and get to the bottom of the earth,” Hernandez said.

“On behalf of the Latino Task Force, we appreciate all of the efforts of Mayor Breed in securing critical resources to address the needs of the Latinx community who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. We are grateful for her ongoing commitment and leadership in keeping the needs of the Latinx community a priority in the City budget,” said Valerie Tulier-Laiwa, Coordinator, Latino Task Force in a press release.

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“These COVID response resources will be used directly to serve the thousands of people standing in the Mission Food Hub line and those seeking family relief and numerous other services at the Latino Task Force Resource Hub. It will also support a culturally appropriate and community-delivered approach at the LTF Testing Hub.”