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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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Activism

Faith Baptist Church Becomes Oakland’s First Official Resiliency Hub

Faith Baptist Church was the recipient of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Legacy Award. Faith was chosen out of a pool of dozens of applicants for the award. The key differentiator was the Solar Battery Storage project. With that, Faith Baptist has the ability to totally exit the PG&E grid and generate 100% energy from its solar panels. That makes Faith Baptist a potential energy distributor.

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As members of the community that comprise Faith Baptist Church look on, California Interfaith Power and Light Executive Director Susan Stephenson, left (in white jacket), hands scissors to the eldest member of Faith Baptist for the ribbon cutting on Nov. 14 while Pastor Curtis Robinson stands just behind him. Also pictured are District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb (white hair, white shirt) and to his right (multi-colored top) is Shayna Hirschfield-Gold, Oakland’s Climate Program manager. Photo courtesy of Faith Baptist Church and California Interfaith Power and Light.
As members of the community that comprise Faith Baptist Church look on, California Interfaith Power and Light Executive Director Susan Stephenson, left (in white jacket), hands scissors to the eldest member of Faith Baptist for the ribbon cutting on Nov. 14 while Pastor Curtis Robinson stands just behind him. Also pictured are District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb (white hair, white shirt) and to his right (multi-colored top) is Shayna Hirschfield-Gold, Oakland’s Climate Program manager. Photo courtesy of Faith Baptist Church and California Interfaith Power and Light.

By Curtis O. Robinson, Sr., M.A., Harvard University fellow, ’19, Senior Pastor, Faith Baptist Church

So, when I say that Faith Baptist is Oakland’s first Resiliency Hub, the first question that many people ask is, “what is a resiliency hub?”

In an article from the Christian Science Monitor entitled “Resilience hubs: A new approach to crisis response,” the author writes, “Things that shock a community have to do with climate, but more urgently they have to do with systemic inequities.”

He was referring to police shootings, civic unrest, the growth of homeless encampments and more. The resiliency hub approach to these inequities uses a respected local organization, such as a church or community center, and bolsters it to help neighborhoods prepare for crises — hurricanes, heat waves, pandemics or unrest — and to respond and recover from them.

When Faith was approached with the idea of solar panels for its rooftop as a source of heat, the decision was relatively a no-brainer.

As a House of Worship, there is a collective emphasis on the workings of God in the universe. The first job that God gave humanity was to tend the Garden. When it comes to environmental justice, our goal then is to take care of this place called planet Earth.

The world is now in an environmental tailspin. However, with technology that teaches us how to create sustainable outcomes, sprinkled with common sense, we can achieve an environmental balance that can create safe spaces environmentally for our children and for our future.

Faith Baptist Church was the recipient of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Legacy Award. Faith was chosen out of a pool of dozens of applicants for the award. The key differentiator was the Solar Battery Storage project.

With that, Faith Baptist has the ability to totally exit the PG&E grid and generate 100% energy from its solar panels. That makes Faith Baptist a potential energy distributor.

With the help of California Interfaith Power and Light and energy experts from the U.S. Green Building Council, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 14.

Joining us, among others, were Susan Stephenson, executive director of California Interfaith Power and Light, Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb of District 1, Shayna Hirschfield- Gold, Oakland’s Climate Program manager and members of Faith Baptist and the Pentecostal community that shares our space and Green Building volunteers.

We bask in the glory of energy independence, because we now tap into clean energy from above and not dirty energy from below.

Publisher’s note: Rev Curtis Robinson also is a columnist for the God on Wall Street column for the Post News Group.

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Black History

Rep. Karen Bass Makes History as L.A.’s First Black Woman Mayor

“The challenges we face affect us all, and all of us must be a part of our solutions,” said Mayor-Elect Karen Bass in a prepared statement. “Los Angeles is the greatest city on Earth. I know, if we come together, hold each other accountable, and focus on the best of who we are and what we can achieve, we can create better neighborhoods today and a better future for our children.”

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Mayor-Elect Karen Bass addressing supporters on election night, Nov. 8, 2022. Maxim Elramsisy, California Black Media
Mayor-Elect Karen Bass addressing supporters on election night, Nov. 8, 2022. Maxim Elramsisy, California Black Media

By Maxim Elramsisy | California Black Media

“This is my home, and with my whole heart, I’m ready to serve, and my pledge to you is that we will hit the ground running on Day One,” Los Angeles Mayor-elect, Rep. Karen Bass announced Nov. 16 after the Associated Press (AP) declared her the projected winner in a tight race for the top job in California’s largest city.

Bass, who has represented the 37th Congressional District of California for 11 years, will be the first woman to lead Los Angeles when she is sworn in on Dec. 12, 2022. She will also be the second Black Angelino to hold the office in a city where 8.8% of residents are Black, according to the U.S. Census.

Before Bass was elected to Congress in 2010, she previously served as a member of the California State Assembly representing the 47th district from 2004 to 2010. From 2008 to 2010 she was the first Black woman to be State Assembly speaker.

In the U.S Congress, Bass represented West Los Angeles and from 2019 to 2021 served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Her opponent, businessman Rick Caruso, conceded that Bass had won the election Wednesday evening, just over a week after the polls closed in the deadlocked race that election watchers said until this week had no apparent winner until now.

A former Republican turned Democrat, Caruso told his supporters in a letter “the campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am so proud of my campaign. We held true to the core values of our family – integrity, honesty, and respect for all.”

A billionaire real estate developer, Caruso owns residential and retail properties around Southern California, including The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, Americana at Brand in Glendale and the Commons at Calabasas.

The vote was virtually tied on Election Day, but each subsequent update to the tally extended the lead for Bass. The counting will continue until every ballot is accounted for, but according to the AP, she has accrued an insurmountable lead.

Almost 75% of voters in L.A. County voted by mail in this election, contributing to some of the delay in announcing a winner.

According to California state law, each mail-in ballot must have its signature verified before it can be counted, and ballots are received for seven days after the election, so long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

A record amount of money was spent on the race, with Caruso’s campaign vastly outspending Bass. The Caruso campaign reported a total expenditure of $104,848,887.43.

Caruso himself contributed almost $98 million to his own campaign, which he spent primarily on advertising.

“Despite being outspent 12 to 1, Congresswoman Karen Bass proved L.A. voters can’t be bought,” said Kerman Maddox, the finance committee chair of Bass 4 Mayor.

Vastly outspent from the start of her candidacy, Bass also won the June 7 primary election.

Bass benefited from endorsements from Democrats at all levels of government, including former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, California Senator Alex Padilla and the Los Angeles Democratic Party. One notable holdout was Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Kellie Todd Griffin, Convening Founder of the California Black Women’s Collective — a collective of hundreds of Black women from various professional backgrounds across the state — referenced Bass’ background as a strong and respected voice for Los Angeles’ African American community.

“This is a victory that we are all vested in because it represents the power of what we can do through community organizing and collaboration,” Griffin said. “Mayor-Elect Bass is the change we need right now to ensure today’s most pressing issues will be addressed in a way that doesn’t leave us behind. We are proud because this a victory for Black women and our community.”

Bass is well known across Los Angeles for building cross-cultural, multi-racial coalitions of people and being able to rally them around causes.

During the crack epidemic of the 1980s, she was a physician’s assistant and a clinical instructor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC Physician Assistant Program who became a leading voice for victims affected by the highly addictive substance derived from cocaine.

Bass promised that her administration will be inclusive and “will bring everyone to the table.”

“The challenges we face affect us all, and all of us must be a part of our solutions,” she said in a prepared statement. “Los Angeles is the greatest city on Earth. I know, if we come together, hold each other accountable, and focus on the best of who we are and what we can achieve, we can create better neighborhoods today and a better future for our children.”

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Bay Area

No Charges to Be Filed in Death of Supervisor Wilma Chan

Chan was walking her dog when she was hit by a vehicle at 8:05 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2021, at Grand Street and Shore Line Drive in Alameda. Chan was a resident of the city for 27 years. “My Office reviewed the completed (police) reports,” O’Malley said. “To file criminal charges, we would have to find that the driver was criminally negligent, such as running a stop sign.” O’Malley said, “We did not find such negligence.”

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The late Wilma Chan, Alameda County Supervisor for District 3, including the cities of Alameda, San Leandro, a portion of Oakland, including Chinatown, Jack London, and Fruitvale, among others. (Office of Wilma Chan via Bay City News)
The late Wilma Chan, Alameda County Supervisor for District 3, including the cities of Alameda, San Leandro, a portion of Oakland, including Chinatown, Jack London, and Fruitvale, among others. (Office of Wilma Chan via Bay City News)

By Keith Burbank | Bay City News

Criminal charges will not be filed against the driver of the vehicle that hit and killed Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan in November 2021, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said recently.

Chan was walking her dog when she was hit by a vehicle at 8:05 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2021, at Grand Street and Shore Line Drive in Alameda. Chan was a resident of the city for 27 years.

“My Office reviewed the completed (police) reports,” O’Malley said. “To file criminal charges, we would have to find that the driver was criminally negligent, such as running a stop sign.”

O’Malley said, “We did not find such negligence.”

Alameda officials declined to release details of the police investigation into the collision. O’Malley said officers made diagrams, took statements from witnesses, and analyzed the trajectory of the sun that morning.

“Supervisor Chan was a tireless advocate for seniors, children, and families, promoting programs that advance children’s health, and help lift people out of poverty, and so much more,” Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said in a statement the day that Chan died. “Her compassion, strong sense of community, and devotion to the people she served will be profoundly missed.”

In recognition of Chan’s work and contributions to the city, Alameda renamed a street after her on Nov. 16, when family, friends, city officials and colleagues unveiled Wilma Chan Way, which stretches from Webster Street to Lincoln Avenue replacing Constitution Way.

Drivers from Oakland via the Webster Street tube will first encounter Alameda by way of Wilma Chan Way.

“Wilma Chan was a wonderful leader for Alameda County,” O’Malley said. “She was a champion, for example, of All In Alameda County, which addresses food insecurity and address issues of poverty.”

Chan was responsible for “several projects that were quite personal and impactful to vulnerable individuals and other members of our community,” O’Malley added. “‘All In’ is one example of the vision and humanity Supervisor Chan brought to the Board of Supervisors.”

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