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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London Breed Announces New Funding to Support Homeless People Suffering from Behavioral Health and Substance Disorders

$3 million grant from California Department of Health Care Services to the San Francisco Department of Public Health will fund service expansion for Healthy Streets Operations Center and homeless services

San Francisco, CA — Today Mayor London N. Breed announced that the San Francisco Department of Public Health has received a $3 million grant to fund outreach and treatment efforts for homeless individuals suffering from behavioral health and substance use disorders.

This funding will expand services for two years to further support the Healthy Streets Operation Center’s (HSOC) efforts to help those struggling on San Francisco’s streets, including case management, clinical services, and social worker engagement. HSOC is the City’s coordinated, multi-departmental effort to address homelessness and unhealthy street behaviors.

The funding will go towards increasing the City’s number of clinicians, social workers, and peer navigators; augmenting the Street Medicine Team and Harm Reduction Van to ensure there are coordinated and visible services; and extending hours of operations for programming and services to include more nights and weekends so there is greater coverage for those on the streets.

“This funding will allow us to expand programs that are working to get our homeless residents connected to treatment and services, instead of letting people continue to cycle through our emergency rooms and jails,” said Mayor Breed. “We know that we need more housing and shelter to help our homeless population, but we also need to treat the mental illness and substance use disorders that can lead to homelessness in the first place.”

“The increased state funding will allow us to build upon our outreach and engagement efforts that already are making a difference, connecting people experiencing homelessness to care and services for mental health and substance use issues,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “The Health Department is proud to work with other city agencies and partner organizations to strengthen and support the Healthy Streets Operation Center, which is providing relief to people on the streets and improving quality of life for all San Franciscans.”

The funding will:

Expand hours and capacity of services

  • Add a clinician to staff HSOC on the evening and weekends. This will expand the reach of the City’s multi-departmental effort to address homelessness and behavioral health needs on San Francisco’s streets.
  • Extend Hospitality House Drop-in Center Hours to include 5:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. so those on the streets have somewhere to go indoors, be safe, and get connected to services. Hospitality House serves more than 6,000 people a year in its day program, and evening hours will add capacity to serve more people.
  • Increase case management support for individuals identified by HSOC as needing mental health and support services. Case management is critical to helping people get and stay stable, healthy and housed. Additional case workers will work directly with homeless residents to ensure that their progress is kept on track by a case manager to help steer them to services and programs.

Help improve health conditions on the street

  • Add staff to the Street Medicine Team, which provides clinical care, opioid treatment and additional medical and behavioral health services to homeless people to improve physical and mental health, and daily functioning. The Street Medicine Team has had success connecting those struggling with behavioral health and substance use disorders with treatment and services.
  • Expand the Mobile Harm Reduction Therapy and Counseling support program to serve homeless adults with behavioral health needs. The funding will purchase an additional van to provide counseling, support and connections in hotspots throughout the City, including evening and weekend hours. This approach meets individuals where they are throughout San Francisco to ensure they can access services.

Psychiatric Emergency Services to add staff to link clients to care after discharge

  • Add two social workers, to be based at Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), to provide expertise, information and referrals for services after PES discharge, and supervise peer navigators. 
  • Add four peer navigators to PES to help exiting clients connect to services like Hummingbird Place, Dore Urgent Care, Navigation Centers and other substance use and behavioral health programs. PES already makes up 30% of the referrals to the recently expanded Hummingbird Place, demonstrating a clear need to build upon that connection.  By creating a handoff from PES to community services, these navigators will work to support clients so that they have additional resources and options after leaving PES. 

The grant to the Department of Public Health comes from the California Department of Health Care Services. The Department of Public Health will use the funding to support these services through the end of June 2020.