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Mayor Breed Announces Acquisition of 2 Buildings for People With Mental Health, Substance Use Disorders

Located in the Mission and South of Market neighborhoods, the buildings will provide space for 26 adults to live in a community setting with access to care, services, and treatment

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An aerial view from Golden Gate Park looking across the Avenues to the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge just as the sun begins to set. Golden shadows across the row houses of San Francisco

Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health announced on October 1 the acquisition of two buildings that will house people living with mental health and substance use disorders as part of the City’s long-term plan to strengthen and expand access to behavioral health support.

The two buildings, located on Florida Street in the Mission and Dore Street in the South of Market neighborhood, will be transformed into cooperative housing for 26 adults under the City’s Cooperative Living for Mental Health (CLMH) Program.

The cooperative living model created under CLMH is a key part of San Francisco’s work to provide housing and care for people with mental health and substance use disorders. Cooperative living allows people with mental health and substance use disorders to live in community with access to care, services, and treatment in spaces operated by local behavioral health service providers.

The model can also assist in progress to independent living. Purchasing cooperative living buildings shields these spaces from market volatility, protecting clients and allowing the City’s community-based organization partners to continue to offer much needed affordable housing.

“These buildings are part of our long-term strategy to transform how we deliver support for those living with mental health and substance use challenges,” said Breed. “We are focusing on a whole range of solutions that cover everything from improving street outreach to providing safe, supportive housing for our most vulnerable residents. This is all part of our commitment to create a safer, healthier San Francisco for all.”

In addition to these purchases that ensure the long-term affordability of existing beds, San Francisco is adding 400 new treatment beds for people experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. This represents a 20% increase in the City’s residential treatment capacity. In 2021 alone, San Francisco will see 140 new beds opened, including the following:

  • The 20-bed SOMA RISE Center, which will open this winter as part of the City’s response to the drug overdose crisis. It will offer a safe indoor space for people who have used methamphetamine or other substances, monitor their health while intoxicated, and connecting them with other health and social services.
  • A 10-bed residential treatment facility specifically designed to treat young adults with serious mental health and/or substance use disorders is under design.
  • Neighborhood-based psychiatric respite facilities for people experiencing homelessness to shelter in a safe, supportive environment where they can also access ongoing care.

Nonprofit supportive housing and behavioral health care provider Conard House will own and operate the two CLMH properties on Florida and Dore Streets in partnership with the City’s Department of Public Health (DPH). Established in 1960 with the first transitional housing program in San Francisco, Conard House operates and provides social services at nine residential hotels and 19 private apartments across San Francisco, inclusive of the Florida and Dore Street locations.

“Establishing sustainable, viable and cost-effective housing opportunities for people living with serious mental health challenges is what these acquisitions represent and what we want to expand in San Francisco. Cooperative housing offers long-term solutions and alternatives to inpatient treatment, incarceration and homelessness. With public-private partnerships and initiatives like CLMH, we can ensure that everyone has a place to call home in San Francisco,” said Anne Quaintance, executive director of Conard House.

“Cooperative housing is a critical part of behavioral health services for people with serious mental health and substance use disorders. Mayor Breed’s commitment to preserve cooperative living spaces, as well as open 400 new treatment and care beds across San Francisco, addresses people’s psychiatric needs as well as their housing needs, which are both vital to achieving health and recovery,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “With the purchases at Florida and Dore Streets, DPH is pleased to continue our partnership with Conard House and continue to offer supportive housing for some of our residents most in need.”

The proposed residence at 1140-1142 Florida Street is located in the Mission District and will house eight adults in separate bedrooms, with access to shared kitchens, bathrooms, and a large backyard.

The proposed residence at 139-145 Dore Street in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood will consist of six, 3-bedroom apartments that will accommodate 18 adults. In both locations, residents will have individual bedrooms but will share common spaces. Conard House will provide services and case management to residents to ensure success living in their new homes.

“Congratulations to Conard House for taking on these first two cooperative living sites for people with chronic mental illness,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who authored the CLMH legislation in 2019. “One of the most glaring gaps in our response to mental illness is the lack of housing options for people exiting residential treatment programs. For many people who are dealing with a combination of psychiatric and addiction issues, the key to stability and success is to be away from larger, sometimes hectic living situations that can trigger continued crises. Cooperative living can open the door to stability and serenity in their lives. These two properties mark a great step forward addressing our mental health crisis.”

“Any effective response to the crisis on our streets will require us to create more appropriate placements for unsheltered people with significant behavioral health needs,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “The Cooperative Living Opportunities for Mental Health Program is one innovative housing model for getting sick people off the streets into care. Bravo to Mayor Breed and Supervisor Ronen for their leadership; we need many more such facilities, in my district and across the city.”

“The City’s Cooperative Living Mental Health program fills a critical gap in providing housing for those struggling with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “This is an opportunity to help stabilize some of our most vulnerable residents, provide onsite care, and prevent homelessness. My district in particular has suffered from the lack of appropriate responses and solutions to the mental health and substance use crises we are seeing on our streets. This program is a key component in finally addressing these issues.”

The acquisitions and most rehabilitations planned for each site were financed by the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development expects to provide HAF with permanent financing for the buildings in 2022 following the completion of repair improvements and upgrades.

“We created the Housing Accelerator Fund to make sure the City and its partners were able to quickly access the resources they need to implement innovative, impactful solutions like the CLMH program,” said HAF’s CEO Rebecca Foster. “We look forward to continuing to work with the City and housing providers like Conard House to connect more residents to supportive homes.”

For the latest update on San Francisco’s residential care and treatment expansion, go to: sf.gov/residential-care-and-treatment.

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City Government

Policy Pathways Honors Former Mayor Elihu Harris and Six Youth Leaders

The recipients of the 2021 Youth Public Service Award are students from Virginia high schools.

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Policy Pathways Logo courtesy of Organization's Facebook

Policy Pathways has announced former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris as its 2021 Policy Leadership Award recipient, along with six youth who will receive 2021 Youth Public Service Awards.

The award winners will be recognized Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at the Policy Pathways Third Annual Fall Celebration from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The event will take place online and is open to the public.

Elihu Harris

Kayla Patrick

The keynote speaker will be Kayla Patrick, senior data  and policy analyst at the Education Trust. She has conducted several major reports on policy and data analysis on the education of girls, particularly those of color. She has been featured in The New York Times, MSNBC, and 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s education platform.

She will be receiving the Excellence in Public Policy and Administration Award.

Elihu Harris’s career in public service has spanned five decades. He is a former California assemblyman, executive director of the National Bar Association, mayor of Oakland, and chancellor of Peralta Community College District. Today, he is a private attorney and owner of the Harris Funeral Home in Berkeley.

Dr. Lenneal Henderson, visiting instructor at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, and board member and fellow of numerous humanitarian and cultural institutions, will introduce Harris.

The recipients of the 2021 Youth Public Service Award are students from Virginia high schools.

University students being honored include Virginia students who have proven themselves to be leaders in public service in academics, community involvement and vision of the future.

“During our Third Annual Fall Celebration, we celebrate the accomplishments of policy leaders and public servants who have inspired us through their work, courage, dedication, and sheer will to overcome the barriers they faced that could have easily derailed their dreams,” said Policy Pathways President and CEO, Dr. D. Pulane Lucas.

The Fall Celebration supports the operations and programs of Policy Pathways. To purchase tickets and sponsorships, go to https://policypathways.org/event/fall-celebration/. Contributions are tax-deductible. For more information about the event, contact info@policypathways.org or call (866)-465-6671.

Policy Pathways, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Richmond, Va., providing education, training, and leadership development to high school students, recent high school graduates, and community college and undergraduates students who desire to become leaders in the fields of public policy, public administration, and public service.

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Business

City Must Pay Contractors, Businesses, Non-Profits Promptly

By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

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Sheng Thao

I have introduced legislation to restore the City of Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance and it will be heard at 1:30 p.m. by the City Council on October 19 because local contractors and local businesses need to be compensated in a timely manner for work they do on behalf of the City.

It’s unacceptable that the city is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay payment to these local non-profit organizations.  By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-Interim City Administrator, Steven Falk issued an Emergency Order suspending parts of the City’s codes to give the City the flexibility to navigate the uncertain times.  Few would have guessed then that the world would still be navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic nearly 18 months later. One of the ordinances suspended by the Emergency Order was the Prompt Payment Ordinance.

Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance requires the City to compensate local businesses and contractors executing City grants or contracts within 20 days of receiving an invoice.  This allows local organizations providing services on behalf of the City of Oakland to be compensated in a timely manner and builds trust between these organizations and the city.  Local contractors and businesses provide a diverse set of services to the City, covering areas ranging from trash removal and paving to public safety.

Almost 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance is still suspended.  Even as City staff have adjusted to working remotely and the City has adjusted to operating during the pandemic, there is no requirement that the City compensate its contractors or local businesses in a timely manner.

Oaklanders can comment at the meeting by joining the Zoom meeting via this link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88527652491 or calling 1-669-900-6833 and using the Meeting ID 885 2765 2491 and raising their hand during the public comment period at the beginning of the Council meeting.

 

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Business

A’s Owner John Fisher Port Proposal No Good for Oakland

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

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Howard Terminal on Port of Oakland Map

OPINION

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

It is such a bad idea and the costs to the public are so ridiculous that logically it shouldn’t happen.  But this right-wing, Trump-supporting Republican has a boatload of money and a few corporation-oriented politicians to help him push it through.  

So, Oaklanders need to be active, or he might get it. Here are two of the things we need to act on: 

  1. Fisher won’t spend his own money.  So, he wants Alameda County to give up spending on things like the COVID-19 pandemic, so we residents can pay for his project with taxpayer money.  The vote on this will come up to the Board of Supervisors on October 26.  If you’d prefer that the County fund health care, housing and other resident necessities, ask them to vote “No.” Call your supervisor at 510-208-4949 and/or attend the meeting.
  2. The Oakland City Council will make the ultimate decision about Fisher’s project and there are a zillion reasons they should say “No.”  Among them: a) Fisher’s project requires that thousands of people run across the tracks of a busy railroad, which killed a number of people even before there were big crowds needing to get to their condos or a stadium.   b) And  Fisher’s project would wreck Oakland’s Port.  The “Seaport Compatibility Measures” necessary to keep the Port alive would cost hundreds of millions of dollars which would not be needed if it were not for Fisher’s project.  So, Fisher, not taxpayers, should pay for them. c)  And then there are all the other ways it will hurt the waterfront, the environment, and Port workers.

You can get contact information to reach your Council member here – https://www.oaklandca.gov/officials

Personally, any public official who votes for Fisher’s project will never get my vote again.   Call me hard-headed, but the harm to  Oakland as a working-class, multi-racial city, the harm to the ILWU (the union of Port workers, perhaps the most progressive union in America)  and the opposition of the people of East Oakland are enough to make my hard head think that’s what solidarity requires.

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