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Advocates say SF unprepared to implement conservatorship program for homeless, mentally ill

October 29, 2018

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

City officials are hurrying to launch a conservatorship program to force the homeless and mentally ill into treatment by early next year, but homeless advocates argue there are not enough resources or safeguards for the civil rights of those in the program in place.

A law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September allows San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego to expand efforts to involuntarily treat the chronically homeless and others who are suffering from such severe mental health and substance abuse issues that they are unable to care for themselves. The program is expected to capture some 50 to 100 people annually, city officials said on Friday…

On Friday, Breed — a proponent of SB 1045 — convened stakeholders from various city agencies, as well as homeless, mental health, senior, disabled and civil rights advocacy groups and service providers, for a private meeting at City hall…

“Let’s slow it down. I’m not against it in principle, but let’s improve our whole public health system,” David Elliot Lewis, of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco. “We don’t have a health director currently — I think that’s a problem that we don’t have leadership in our health department.”…(more)

San Francisco has a bit of a leadership problem, with a number of vacancies and imminent retirements in the health, transit, and fire departments. The authorities at City Hall are overwhelmed with major problems so this may not be the best time to throw another new program together.

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