Mayor London Breed Announces Acquisition of Two Properties in the Tenderloin for Expansion of Behavioral Health Services
Adjoining properties are part of San Francisco’s expansion of residential beds and treatment spaces for people with mental health and substance use disorders
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) today announced the acquisition of two adjacent properties at 822 Geary Boulevard and 629 Hyde Street that will expand behavioral health services in the Tenderloin neighborhood following approval by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, December 14. This expansion is part of San Francisco’s plan to add 400 new residential treatment spaces and overnight beds, 88 of which have already opened this year to support people with mental health and substance use disorders.
This site will be used for programs that get people with mental health and substance use issues off the street and connected to wraparound services. To meet this goal, SFDPH is considering using the two properties as a “crisis diversion unit” with up to 15 beds for people experiencing mental health crises. A separate possible use for the properties would be a safe consumption site to help prevent overdoses, prevent public drug use, and get people the care and treatment they need to deal with their addiction the moment they are ready. The crisis diversion unit and the safe consumption site would operate as independent programs, but both would work in close coordination to help address substance use and mental health crises.
“San Francisco is making unprecedented investments in mental health and overdose prevention services,” said Mayor Breed. “We know that the need is great, and we must continue responding by seizing on opportunities when they are presented. Purchasing the properties at 822 Geary Boulevard and 629 Hyde Street will allow us to address the mental health and overdose crisis we continue to see in our communities, get people the help that they so desperately need, and provide much-needed relief to the Tenderloin neighborhood.”
“Our system of care is seeing increased demand for mental health services, and we are eager to meet this need through low-barrier access to care,” said Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax. “Low-threshold crisis centers for both mental health and substance use disorders have proved successful here in San Francisco and throughout the country, and by increasing these services, we are alleviating street conditions, unnecessary use of other city services, and most importantly, providing a compassionate and evidence-based response to our neighbors in crisis.”
The crisis diversion unit is one of the areas of need identified in the 2020 Behavioral Health Bed Optimization Project conducted by Dr. Anton Nigusse Bland, who served as the Mayor’s Director of Mental Health Reform. The crisis diversion unit beds would fill gaps in San Francisco’s crisis services and serve as an important short-term intervention for those experiencing an escalating psychiatric crisis and those who require rapid engagement, assessment, and intervention. It would also support in reducing arrests, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations, and be a location where the Street Crisis Response Team (SCRT) can bring people in need off the streets and into care.
“We have much work to go to fully implement Mental Health SF. Adding these programs to our growing system of care get us one step closer,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “I am particularly hopeful that we will open a safe consumption site shortly. Those that are operating in other places have proven successful in not only preventing deaths by overdose, but also serving as a place where individuals get connected to recovery services that often lead to sobriety. We can’t arrest ourselves out of the drug crisis in this country. We should be looking around the world at interventions that have proven to reduce addiction and implement these interventions in San Francisco.”
“Let’s be clear, our city is in crisis,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “We are in the middle of an overdose epidemic. We lost over 700 people to overdoses in San Francisco last year; that is more than twice the number of people who died from COVID. We must invest in evidence-based practices and create low-barrier entry points if we are ever going to get a handle on this situation. As one of the authors of Mental Health SF, I am also excited to see the City make progress on our plan and taking the mental health crisis seriously. We have been suffering from a crippling shortage of mental health beds, and its great we are making progress towards increasing our capacity. As we roll out these programs, I think it’s important that we make our plans, intentions, and community process around all of this clear and transparent. I also believe that these acquisitions and services must be accompanied by appropriate community resources like community ambassadors, like Urban Alchemy, to ensure that these services are utilized and have a positive impact on the surrounding community.”
“The acquisition of these properties is an encouraging step toward addressing the mental health and addiction crisis playing out on our streets,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “People in crisis need safe places to heal and access mental health services, and facilities like these are filling a critical gap in our City’s continuum of mental health care for the people who need it the most.”
For the latest update on San Francisco’s residential care and treatment expansion, please visit: sf.gov/residential-care-and-treatment.