Connect with us

Bay Area

Mayor London Breed Announces Plan to Create Street Wellness Response Team to Expand Services for Those in Need

SCRT launched its fourth team on Monday, May 10. These teams are currently operating in the Tenderloin, the Castro/Mission, the Bayview, and the Northeast/Waterfront/Chinatown area. The program will be fully deployed by the end of the summer after a fifth team comes on board to cover remaining geographic areas while a sixth team provides city-wide 24/7 coverage.

Published

on

  Mayor London N. Breed today announced a plan to create a new Street Wellness Response Team to improve outcomes for people in need on San Francisco’s streets and advance the City’s efforts to implement alternatives to police responses to non-violent calls. 

     The Street Wellness Response Team will provide an appropriate medical and social service response for people who require immediate assistance but do not have emergent behavioral health care needs. 

     San Francisco’s Street Crisis Response Teams (SCRT) will continue operating to address the needs of people experiencing behavioral health crises.

      “Building on the early success of the Street Crisis Response Team, we are continuing our work to make a significant change to improve how we effectively serve people in need on our streets,” said Breed. “Many calls to 911 or 311 about someone who appears to need help on our streets don’t require an armed police response, and often the services and care people need would be best provided by a paramedic or outreach worker instead of a police officer. 

     “As we work to recover from COVID-19, part of making our city stronger and healthier requires pushing forward on our efforts to help people experiencing homelessness and who are on our streets in need of assistance and connections to housing. The Street Wellness Response Team will work alongside the Street Crisis Response Teams. Together, these Street Response Teams will meet people where they are and provide the level of care that is needed.”

      The Street Wellness Response Team will consist of community paramedics and EMTs from the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) and Homeless Outreach Team members from the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH). 

     They will be dispatched to focus on well-being checks and situations that require immediate attention, but do not meet the threshold of an acute behavioral health crisis. This includes situations such as someone with obvious wounds, people who are lying down or sleeping, or someone inappropriately clothed for the weather.

      SFFD community paramedics, which also support the Street Crisis Response Team, will perform medical, behavioral, and social needs assessments, render immediate aid if needed, and along with the homeless outreach worker, will be able to offer meaningful connections to services and housing. 

     The new team will be deployed on 12-hour shifts in an SFFD vehicle and have the ability to provide transportation services to individuals who might need that as part of the engagement.

     As with SCRT, the new Street Wellness Response Team will be able to respond directly to 911 and 311 calls for service. The team will analyze 911 and 311 calls for service to strategically assign teams to be in areas where there is high need and proactively respond to people in distress on the street who are not in an acute behavioral health crisis. 

     Integrating these teams with 911 and 311 dispatch will also help with tracking data and outcomes to ensure the efficacy of the program.

      Existing outreach teams like the Homeless Outreach Team and Harm Reduction Outreach teams will continue to operate, complementing the Community Response Teams by providing ongoing, specialized outreach to people experiencing homelessness who need support to stabilize and move from streets to housing.

 

     The Mayor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Years 2021-22 and 2022-23, which will be submitted by June 1, 2021, will include $9.6 million to fund five teams over two years. If this team is approved in the Budget when it is finalized at the end of July, they would begin the operational planning, developing protocols — including risk assessment and dispatch—and launch at least one team by January 2022 and build up to five teams total by April 2022.

      “The San Francisco Fire Department’s Community Paramedic Division stands ready to build another team to deliver the much-needed services to people of the City and County of San Francisco,” said Chief Jeanine Nicholson of the San Francisco Fire Department. “Mayor Breed has recognized the positive impact that community paramedicine has had with the recently implemented Street Crisis Response Team and EMS6. The SFFD looks forward to being a part of the solution to improving people’s lives as well as overall street conditions.”

      “The Street Wellness Response Team will provide dignified and compassionate care to people experiencing homelessness on our streets and in our neighborhoods,” said Shireen McSpadden, director of the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “We appreciate this investment in making our communities safer and more humane for all residents of San Francisco.”

      During the rollout of SCRT, the City has continued to focus on the next steps needed to provide better services and outcomes for people on the street and end the use of police as first responders when an armed response is not needed. Led by the Mayor’s office, City departments including SFFD, Department of Emergency Management, San Francisco Police Department, the Department of Public Health, HSH, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, City Administrator’s office, and Public Works, have been identifying and analyzing further calls that could be diverted from the police and handled by different non-law enforcement entities in a manner that is safe, sustainable for the long-term, and delivers better service for those in need of assistance.

      In 2019, there were approximately 18,000 calls for assistance regarding “well-being checks” that were fielded by both 911 and 311 in which the police were ultimately deployed to respond. 

    This is one of the highest-volume call categories currently being answered by police after the calls regarding “mentally disturbed adults” that have already been diverted to SCRT. To address these “well-being” requests and provide more proactive outreach, Breed is proposing these new teams to operate in concert with SCRT and the City’s continuum of services.

      “There is a lot of stigma against people having a mental health crisis on the streets,” said Miguel Levya, a peer counselor for SCRT. “We find we can de-escalate most situations by treating them the way everyone wants to be treated – with kindness and respect. This offers the best approach for getting them the help they need and resolving any disturbances that have happened.”

 

Street Crisis Response Team Background

In June 2020, Mayor Breed announced a roadmap to fundamentally change the nature of policing in San Francisco and issued a set of policies to address structural inequities. She proposed four priorities to achieve this vision: ending the use of police in response to non-criminal activity; addressing police bias and strengthening accountability; demilitarizing the police, and promoting economic justice.

     The Street Crisis Response Team launched in November 2020 to change the way San Francisco responds to non-violent, mental health crises on our streets. The SCRT pilot program offers a unique model for the nation with a behavioral health and harm reduction approach to people in distress. Each SCRT neighborhood team consists of a paramedic, a behavioral health clinician, and a peer health worker.

     SCRT launched its fourth team on Monday, May 10. These teams are currently operating in the Tenderloin, the Castro/Mission, the Bayview, and the Northeast/Waterfront/Chinatown area. The program will be fully deployed by the end of the summer after a fifth team comes on board to cover remaining geographic areas while a sixth team provides city-wide 24/7 coverage.

     By April, the teams had responded to more than 700 calls with an average response time of 15 minutes. The vast majority of those calls, or 82%, were dispatched from 911. All in all, the SCRT diverted 19% of “mentally disturbed person” calls from dispatch, demonstrating that the SCRT program can be a clear alternative to law enforcement. In 53% of the cases, the SCRT was able to resolve the crisis on the scene, and in 37% of the cases, the client was transported to the hospital or a social or behavioral provider who could provide more intensive medical support or behavioral health treatment.

 The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Communication is the source of this report.

Bay Area

SoCal Group Holds Black-Themed Commencement, Presents Scholarships for Local High School Grads

The Buffongs say 694 students signed up for the Black graduation event their company held in conjunction with the Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement (CEEM) and a myriad of other sponsors. In addition to celebrating the students’ achievements, the Buffongs say the event held at the Los Angeles County Fair Grounds in Pomona introduced members of the class of 2022 to culturally significant career, social and civic opportunities.

Published

on

More than 670 Black graduates from various high schools come to a special graduation at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona on May 13, 2022.
More than 670 Black graduates from various high schools come to a special graduation at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona on May 13, 2022.

SoCal Group Holds Black-Themed Commencement, Presents Scholarships for Local High School Grads

By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

This past weekend in the Inland Empire, a San Bernardino couple welcomed hundreds of African American high school graduates from the region for a joyous multi high school, Black-themed graduation celebration.

“Sometimes we have students doing magnificent things and nobody sees them,” said Keynasia Buffong, co-founder of Buffong Consultation Solutions, the company that organized the celebration honoring graduates from various high schools in the area.

Keynasia Buffong co-owns the firm with her husband Jonathan Buffong. The couple wants to expand the mass graduation event to all regions in the state.

“When you come into your community, we see you. We recognize you,” Kaynasia Buffong continued.

The Buffongs say 694 students signed up for the Black graduation event their company held in conjunction with the Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement (CEEM) and a myriad of other sponsors.

In addition to celebrating the students’ achievements, the Buffongs say the event held at the Los Angeles County Fair Grounds in Pomona introduced members of the class of 2022 to culturally significant career, social and civic opportunities.

Black Greek organizations attended the weekend-long event as well as the first Black valedictorian of Beaumont High School where African American students make up a little under 7% of the student population.

“We got a chance to give away $27,000 in scholarships,” said Keynasia.

Both Buffongs are educators and student advocates in California. They have been hosting the graduation event appreciating Black students for over 11 years.

But the Buffongs say celebrating success always comes with a reminder of the challenges Black students face.

According to the California Department of Education, at 72.5%, Black students had the lowest high school graduation rate among all other racial or ethnic groups at the end of the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

Jonathan said one of their goals is to help graduates transition into the next stage of their academic life, whether that be a four-year university, community college, trade school, or employment.

“Sometimes they don’t know where to go or what to do,” said Keynasia. “There’s mentorship and sponsorship and we aim to have both.”

For the scholarship awards, the Buffongs are not just looking at grades but the full context of the graduates’ lives.

“Whether it’s COVID, deaths, family or health issues, disabilities, we’re looking for things to support them on so we can get them to the next level,” said Jonathan.

Outside of academic and career success, the Buffongs spoke about the importance of Black cultural exposure through education and traditional practices such as the Black national anthem and a libation ceremony.

The libation ceremony is performed by an elder in the community as a way to honor one’s ancestors. It is significant in various African cultures as well as other cultures around the globe.

The Buffongs say their next step is to look into more internship opportunities and figure out how to help curb the high numbers of Black high school graduates who leave the state to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

Continue Reading

Bay Area

Amtrak to Run Special Trains to Allensworth Historic Park Juneteenth Festival, June 11

Visitors attending the Juneteenth Festival will be able to take Amtrak San Joaquins trains to the Allensworth station. From there, riders will be met by a free shuttle for the short ride to the main property. The Allensworth station is normally a whistle stop on the San Joaquins available to be booked by groups desiring to visit the park.

Published

on

Allensworth State Park entry. Photo courtesy of CalParks.org. Trains will bring visitors to celebrate Juneteenth at site unique to California’s African American history
Allensworth State Park entry. Photo courtesy of CalParks.org. Trains will bring visitors to celebrate Juneteenth at site unique to California’s African American history

By David Lapari

Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park is holding a celebratory Juneteenth event on Saturday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In partnership, Amtrak San Joaquins has scheduled special trains, bookable at a 50% discount rate to bring travelers to a place of historical significance to Blacks in California.

The town of Allensworth was established in 1908 by Colonel Allen Allensworth and at one point was home to more than 300 families. The park is a California state treasure because it was the first town in California to be founded, financed, and governed by African Americans. Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park became a historical landmark in 1974.

The Juneteenth Festival is one of four major annual events hosted by Friends of Allensworth (FOA), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to support, promote, and advance the educational and interpretive activities at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

According to FOA, “Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. It was on June 19th, that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free.”

Event activities will include square dancing, self-guided tours of historic buildings, historic games with prizes, storytelling, and arts and crafts. Food and refreshment vendors will also be present. Travelers can also bring their bikes and chairs aboard Amtrak trains and Thruway buses.

“Amtrak San Joaquins has been a long-time partner to the FOA in connecting the people of California with the historic town of Allensworth” said FOA President Sasha Biscoe. “We encourage any individual that is interested in immersing themselves in the rich, ethnically diverse history of our state to consider taking advantage of the affordable, convenient, and fun transportation option provided by Amtrak San Joaquins and join us on June 11th to celebrate Juneteenth.”

The southbound trains that will be running for the event include trains 702, 710, 712, 714. Northbound trains include trains 713, 715, 717 and 719. When purchasing train tickets, a 50% discount will automatically be applied to the ticket purchase and on up to five companion tickets. Additional discount programs regularly available to riders include:

  • Infants under 2 years of age ride for free
  • Children 2-12 years old ride half-price every day
  • Seniors (62+ years of age) receive 15% off
  • Veterans & active military members receive 15% off
  • Disabled riders save 10% off

Visitors attending the Juneteenth Festival will be able to take Amtrak San Joaquins trains to the Allensworth station. From there, riders will be met by a free shuttle for the short ride to the main property. The Allensworth station is normally a whistle stop on the San Joaquins available to be booked by groups desiring to visit the park.

Train tickets to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park can be booked online at amtraksanjoaquins.com. For more information on how to book a group trip to Allensworth, please contact Carmen Setness, community outreach coordinator for San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), at Carmen@sjjpa.com.

David Lapari works for the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, which is responsible for the management and administration of Amtrak San Joaquins.

Continue Reading

Bay Area

Dream Fund: Entrepreneurs Can Apply for $10,000 Grants Through $35M State Program

Although a number of reports suggest that the outlook has begun to be more positive as the U.S. economy continues to bounce back defying the odds, and many Black businessowners have also become more optimistic, access to credit and technical support remain a challenge for many who had to dip into their own finances to keep their lights on.

Published

on

Everett Sands, CEO Lendistry. Lendistry photo. 
Everett Sands, CEO Lendistry. Lendistry photo. 

By Tanu Henry, California Black Media

Since 2017, there has been a 9.8% increase of new small businesses — firms with less than 500 employees — in the United States. Over the past two years alone, over 10 million applications were submitted to start new small businesses across the country, according to the Small Business Administration.

That growth trend is true for California, too, where there are about 4.1 million small businesses, the most in the country. Those companies make up 99.8% of all business in California and employ about 7.2 million people.

But for Black-owned and other minority owned small businesses across the country, there was a steep decline in numbers, almost 41%, due to the pandemic, a Census Population Survey found in 2020. During that same time, nearly 44% of minority-owned small businesses were at risk of shutting down, a Small Business Majority report found.

Although a number of reports suggest that the outlook has begun to be more positive as the U.S. economy continues to bounce back defying the odds, and many Black businessowners have also become more optimistic, access to credit and technical support remain a challenge for many who had to dip into their own finances to keep their lights on.

Recognizing the outsized contribution small businesses make to the health of the California economy and the hit many of the smallest of small business have taken during the pandemic, the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) has been making grants of up to $25,000 to small business in the state.

In its latest round of funding called the Dream Fund, which is now accepting applications on a rolling basis, CalOSBA has partnered with Lendistry, a Los Angeles-based, minority-led small business and commercial real estate lender to administer the $35 million grant portion of its program. The fund provides $10,000 to each small business that qualifies.

To become eligible, California-based small business owners will have to complete training at one of the centers run by the state’s Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP) and receive a certificate.

“For the millions of Californians that have dreams of owning their own business, this grant coupled with one-on-one counseling and business expertise from hundreds of counselors at our eighty-seven Technical Assistance Centers, has the power to jumpstart their dreams,” says Tara Lynn Gray, director of CalOSBA.

Jay King, president and CEO of the Sacramento-based California Black Chamber of Commerce, says he applauds Gov. Gavin Newsom for understanding the historic systemic challenges minority businesses face and for “doing something about it.”

But giving Black businesses grants are not a “cure-all,” he says.

“It is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound if we don’t do more to really fix the problems small businesses face,” King explains. “Ninety-six percent of Black businesses are mini- or micro- that means they make less than $100,000 or less than $35,000 a year, respectively,” King continued. “Only 4% of our businesses earn more than $100,000 annually. We have to put more resources and technical support around these businesses.”

King says informing Black business owners about opportunities like the Dream Fund and making sure they know how to apply for or access the funding is critical to making sure the people who need the help gets it.

“You have to get down into our communities,” he said. “You have to reach people through groups that are plugged into our communities to get the word out. We do not hear about these kinds of programs enough. We definitely don’t benefit from them enough.”

Everett K. Sands, the CEO of Lendistry, says he is excited to help California’s new businesses access the capital they need to “begin on their journeys.

“Over the past two years, almost 10 million new businesses have been created in the U.S.,” he says. “With record numbers of new small businesses entering the marketplace, many of which are owned by women and minorities, programs like California Dream Fund pave the way for a more robust and equitable economy as these new businesses make the leap from employing just their founders to employing their communities.”

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Dr. Noha Aboelata of ROOTS and Dr. Tony Jackson of Pranamind and President of the Bay Area Association of Black Psychologists.
Activism1 month ago

Oakland Frontline Healers Launches Black Mental Health Initiative

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Walkaround 2022 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo AWD Sedan w/Premium Plus Package POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Asian Automotive Philosophy AutoNetwork Reports Black History Month

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 GMC Sierra 2500 4WD Crew Cab AT4 HD | POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Car Reviews – Live Auto [Car] Talk Show – AutoNetwork Reports 351

#NNPA BlackPress2 months ago

Car Reviews Live Auto Car Talk Show AutoNetwork Reports 351

#NNPA BlackPress3 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 Subaru BRZ Limited Sport Coupe | POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress3 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 Mazda CX 30 2.5 Turbo AWD | Subcompact SUV

#NNPA BlackPress3 months ago

Best Detailed Walkaround 2022 Toyota Corolla SE | POV Test Drive

#NNPA BlackPress3 months ago

Car Reviews – Live Auto [Car] Talk Show – AutoNetwork Reports 350

#NNPA BlackPress3 months ago

Car Reviews – Live Auto Car Talk Show – AutoNetwork Reports 350

#NNPA BlackPress8 months ago

NNPA – Black Press w/ Hendriks Video Interview

#NNPA BlackPress2 years ago

‘You Know Who to Vote For’ Martin Luther King’s Voting Message 56 Years Ago Today

Entertainment2 years ago

Music Spotlight with LaToya London

#NNPA BlackPress2 years ago

#FIYAH! LIVESTREAM — U.S. Surgeon General: ‘The Debate is Over — We All Should Be Wearing Face Coverings to Prevent Spread of COVID-19’

Trending