Mayor London Breed and Adult Probation Department Announce Supportive Housing Program for People in the Criminal Justice System During COVID-19
As part of the COVID-19 response, San Francisco will lease 51 rooms in a hotel setting and provide intensive support services for people experiencing homelessness who are involved in the criminal justice system
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the Adult Probation Department today announced a plan to provide supportive housing for people involved with the criminal justice system who are experiencing homelessness as part of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the program will provide housing with on-site case management at a hotel site serving up to 51 individuals who are either unhoused individuals released from jail prior to case adjudication, or other justice-involved unhoused residents of San Francisco who can safely leave jail during this time. These individuals will be referred by the Superior Court of San Francisco to the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion program.
“One of our biggest concerns from the beginning of this pandemic has been congregate living situations that are especially vulnerable to outbreaks, like our jails,” said Mayor Breed. “I’m glad to see so many partners working together throughout this process to help ensure that we protect public health and public safety while we adapt to the new challenges we face. We’ve moved over 1,100 people into hotels and we’re continuing to move more vulnerable and homeless residents into these rooms every day. This is yet another innovative effort to respond to these unprecedented circumstances.”
“In response to this public health crisis, Adult Probation is pleased to partner with Recovery Survival Network and the Pretrial Diversion Project to launch an emergency housing program for unhoused individuals released from the San Francisco County Jail,” said Karen Fletcher, Chief Adult Probation Officer. “The program provides a platform for change with a shared vision that focuses on client needs and supports their success, while ensuring public safety. Through this collaborative partnership, participants will be engaged in case management and have access to public benefits, permanent housing options, basic necessities like food, clothing, hygiene kits, laundry cards and toiletries, and other supportive services through our Community Assessment and Services Center.”
During the course of the six-month emergency housing and release program, this facility will provide integrated resources and room for social distancing. Through this pilot, the Adult Probation Department will directly partner with two nonprofits in San Francisco: Recovery Survival Network, a provider of case management and housing support services for justice involved people and marginalized populations; and the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project, a provider of pretrial services that is under contract with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office. This partnership is designed to support the safe and effective transition of the target population from jail to private hotel rooms, and provide the Court with an additional option as it navigates the new landscape of release decisions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through this collaborative effort involving the Adult Probation Department, the Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, San Francisco Pretrial Diversion, Recovery Service Network, and other City and nonprofit partners, this program focuses on public safety and client success. Services will include case management, virtual classes, wellness activities, support groups, and workshops designed to help clients move toward permanent housing placements. The program will be led and funded by the Adult Probation Department.
Effective March 17, 2020, the San Francisco Superior Court reduced operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, closing 80 percent of its courtrooms, and delaying filings and trials in the interest of public health. While San Francisco’s jail capacity is at a historic low due to efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, over 700 individuals remain in custody, down about 35 percent from the average daily count in January 2020.
“We should not have to choose between public health and public safety. This plan provides opportunity, accountability, and space to stop the spread to those exiting jail,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani. “By providing housing, on-site case management, and supportive services this is another critical step to protect the most vulnerable San Franciscans – including victims of crime – during this pandemic.”
“Our priority is to ensure that the people who are released from jail remain healthy and safe while sheltering among the broader community,” said San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto. “This housing opportunity provides our partner, SF Pretrial, with the resources they need to supervise releases and provide supportive services in safe locations out of custody.”
“As San Franciscans shelter in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, my office has been dedicated to protecting those who are most vulnerable—people with no homes in which to seek shelter. We are proud of this joint effort with our justice partners to support unhoused people, which will promote public safety and prevent recidivism by providing critical resources to people released from jail,” said District Attorney Chesa Boudin. “We appreciate the leadership of Adult Probation and Pretrial Diversion Project in providing housing and support to protect our unhoused population from the increased risks they face during this pandemic.”
“As public defenders we are constantly worried about our clients who are living on the streets, unable to shelter-in-place or care for themselves properly during this time. They already face such huge challenges and the public health crisis puts them at even greater risk of illness and falling through the cracks,” said Public Defender Mano Raju. “I am very glad that we have all come together to help address the housing and service needs of this vulnerable population, and I am extremely grateful that Adult Probation and the SF Pretrial Diversion Project are partnering to run this unique initiative.”
We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with Adult Probation, RSN and the Mayor’s Office, Superior Court, Sheriff, District Attorney and Public Defender. SF Pretrial is committed to public safety and the success of individuals on our caseload. This hotel provides a safe space for social distancing and gives our staff the ability to stay connected with clients and focus on their needs as they navigate this phase of presumed innocence. SF Pretrial has been fully operational throughout this crisis, and our hardworking and dedicated team will take full advantage of the safe environment and access afforded through these resources,” said David Mauroff, CEO of SF Pretrial.
“San Francisco Adult Probation Departments Reentry Division is light years ahead of other probation departments around the country and they provide a host of rehabilitative services. This a winning combination along with an array of housing to help reduce homelessness for participants. RSN is proud to part of the SFAPD service providers menu available to all San Francisco probationers,” said Lou Gordon, Executive Director of Recovery Service Network. “The Reentry Division funds services designed to help justice involved participants exit the criminal justice system with a chance to succeed and become productive contributors to society.”
The Adult Probation Department currently has 270 units across 9 buildings, in addition to a rental subsidy program, available for supervised individuals and other justice involved adults. Their most recent launch was a transitional housing site in South of Market in April 2020.