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The expansion plans represent a 20% increase in the City's residential treatment capacity. In 2021 alone, San Francisco will see 140 new beds opened, with significant progress made toward filling the gaps in critical needs areas identified in the 2020 Behavioral Health Bed Optimization Report. Since Mayor Breed took office, San Francisco has added more than 100 treatment beds across San Francisco's system of care.
"This is an unprecedented expansion of our system of care and treatment for people with mental health and substance use disorders," said Mayor London N. Breed. "We are responding with the urgency that this crisis deserves, while saving millions of dollars by removing bottlenecks in the system so that people can move into lower, less costly levels of care when they are ready. Each one of these placement facilities takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to make happen, but we should see the benefits for years to come."
These new treatment beds will allow San Francisco's new street outreach teams, including the Street Crisis Response Teams and the Street Wellness Response Teams, with additional placements that can serve the clients they interact with. There are now five Street Crisis Response Teams operating in San Francisco, responding to about 500 calls monthly. Mayor Breed included funding in this year's budget for five Street Wellness Response Teams, which will begin to respond to "wellness check" calls, which total roughly 17,000 annually.
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The expansion effort is guided by recommendations from the Behavioral Health Bed Optimization Project report in 2020, as well as the Mental Health SF legislation in 2019, and utilization data that identified the types of treatment in highest need. These new beds and facilities are at various stages of development, with some ready for opening in 2021 and others in stages of planning and design.
"Coming out of COVID, our biggest public health crisis is the thousands of people living on our streets with untreated mental health and substance use disorders. Getting these sick people off the streets and into appropriate treatment beds will save lives and make San Francisco a safer and healthier place for all," said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.
"People who are mentally ill and addicted to drugs need immediate access to treatment and care. Expanding our city's treatment beds and Street Crisis Response teams through Mental Health SF will better ensure services are available, accessible and effective," said Supervisor Matt Haney. "Fully funding Mental Health SF was a top priority for us during this year's budget process, and we worked together to expand much needed treatment beds, care coordination, and street intervention. These treatment beds cannot come soon enough."
"This expansion of available treatment facilities is an essential part of fully implementing Mental Health SF. We must have places for people in crisis to get the care they desperately need and to stop the revolving door that returns people to the streets," said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.
"We are not only improving patient flow so that individuals receive timely care and treatment, we are also developing innovative models of care to target the unique needs we see in the community," said Dr. Naveena Bobba, Deputy Director of Health. "The investments we are making in the expansion in our residential care and treatment system will be critical to help us meet our goal for rapid access to recovery-oriented care and treatment."
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Several innovative types of treatment and care programs designed to meet the diverse needs of people with behavioral health challenges are being developed, including:
- The 20-bed SOMA RISE Center will open in the fall of 2021 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.
Meanwhile, as board-and-care homes shutter due to the escalating costs of housing, DPH is also in active negotiations to acquire facilities to accommodate at least 73 residential care beds to support people with mental health issues who require assistance with activities of daily living. Some of these will support the elderly. Critically, DPH is also creating 140 new beds to support people leaving residential substance use treatment – a last step in skill-building before independent housing.
In May, DPH alongside community partners PRC/Baker Places, the Salvation Army, and Tipping Point Community opened Hummingbird Valencia, a psychiatric respite facility for people experiencing homelessness in the Mission and Castro neighborhoods. It is now operating at full capacity with 30 overnight beds and 20 daytime drop-in spaces.
For the latest update on San Francisco's residential care and treatment expansion, go to: sf.gov/residential-care-and-treatment.
San Francisco has also made available a daily update of available mental health and substance use treatment beds at: FindTreatmentSF.org.
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