Mayor Lee Announces Enhancements to SF311 for Homeless Well-Being Checks
SF311 App Updated to Make it Easier for Residents to Help Homeless People in Need of Well-Being Checks & Allow City to More Efficiently Respond to Concerns Such as Encampments & Syringes
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced new enhancements to San Francisco’s 311 system to allow residents to more easily notify the City of homeless people in need of well-being checks so that Homeless Outreach Teams, Department of Public Health staff, and San Francisco Police can respond and assess the need for medical treatment or services more efficiently. Before these enhancements, constituents did not have a one-stop, seamless option to alert the City about homeless people who might be in distress. The SF311 app provides an alternative to communicate with the City without calling 911, but the SF311 app should only be used for non-emergencies. The enhanced SF311 app will also help the public report aggressive behavior as well as encampments, used syringes or abandoned shopping carts.
“Today, we take a step forward as a compassionate City, providing this new way for constituents to let us know about a person who needs a well-being check,” said Mayor Lee. “Walking past someone suffering on the streets does not reflective our San Francisco values. Our residents want to help, and we are providing easy ways for them to do that. These enhancements to the SF311 app will give people who live, work, or visit San Francisco a way to let the City know about homeless residents who might need help accessing safe, clean emergency shelters, vital services or finding permanent housing.”
“I would like to thank 311, the Mayor’s Office, the Police Department and the Department of Emergency Management for their collaboration and leadership in developing this important new compassionate approach to responding to non-emergency service requests for homeless individuals in need of assistance,” said City Administrator Naomi Kelly. “A simple smart phone and SF311app can provide life-saving connections.”
Since its launch in August 2013, over 23,800 people have downloaded the SF311 app, in addition to the more than 80,000 monthly calls answered at 311. 311 has received 181,300 service requests from the mobile platform to date. For more information and to download the SF311 app, go to: sf311.org/mobile-sf311-app.
San Francisco’s 311 Customer Service Center provides a prompt, courteous and professional customer service experience 24 hours a day to San Francisco residents, visitors, and businesses seeking general information and services, and serves callers in more than 176 languages. 311 sets the benchmark for exceptional customer service through compassionate, helpful and knowledgeable staff, enabling the government to be transparent, responsive, effective, and efficient.
“At 311, we are continually working to improve the way the public connects to government,” said 311 Customer Service Center Director Nancy Alfaro. “With over 50 percent of requests already coming via web or mobile for services such as graffiti or broken streetlights, we recognize demand is high for easy access to government services. Expanding our SF311 app’s menu of non-emergency services to include homeless concerns is yet another way of providing a convenient way for the public to be proactive in reporting concerns or issues as they see them.”
Mayor Lee last year created a better system for homeless individuals to make a 90-day shelter reservation by contacting 311. The new system makes it easier for women, people with disabilities and non-English speakers to access the emergency shelter system by eliminating the need to wait in line and instead use 311’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year translation capabilities.
Mayor Lee in the City’s budget over the next two years is investing $28.9 million in new funding to support the homeless, including the addition of more than 500 units of supportive housing in Single Room Occupancy units around the City. The City will also build new supportive housing units for chronically homeless seniors, expand medical respite beds, launch a Mobile Integrated Healthcare Practice team to connect patients with non-emergency medical resources, expand the Homeward Bound program, and continue the City’s new first-of-its-kind Navigation Center pilot program.
The Navigation Center was initially supported with a $3 million donation from the San Francisco Interfaith Council, which funds the first year of the Navigation Center pilot, providing 24/7 counselors to intake new clients, provide meals and safe shelter, and connect homeless people with critical social services. As part of the donation, $1 million is funding the master leasing of SRO units around the City for homeless clients who transition out of the Navigation Center.
Mayor Lee is re-allocating $3 million of City funds to expand the Navigation Center model, and is challenging the private sector to match the City’s commitment at least dollar-for-dollar. Mayor has introduced legislation to the Board of Supervisors to create a Navigation Partnership Fund to receive philanthropic contributions earmarked for Navigation services, funding which must be matched by the City before it can be spent.