It’s sort of like “Care Not Cops,” as the hopefully less escalatory Street Crisis Response Team starts its pilot program today for non-violent incident response.
Those who recall Gavin Newsom’s days as mayor will remember a program he dubbed Care Not Cash, wherein direct cash payments to the unhoused population were cut in favor of boosting funding to shelters and services. It was perhaps marginally successful, but the larger problems have always persisted. Mayor London Breed's strategy could be called “Coordinated Care Not Cops,” as KRON4 brings us the news that the new work-in-progress city department called Office of Coordinated Care is debuting its Street Crisis Response Team in the Tenderloin on Monday. Its goal is to respond to non-violent mental health and addiction 911 calls without involving police.
The goal of this pilot program is to meet people in distress with the right services and professionals who can get them the help they need.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) November 30, 2020
We need to end the cycle of people not getting treated, only to be released back on the street once again.
The teams of health clinicians and medical professionals are a component of Mental Health SF, which was originally two different dueling proposals from the mayor and the Matt Haney/Hillary Ronen wing of the board of supervisors, though eventually all parties hammered out a compromise measure. When Breed put out a press release in August announcing the teams, the release quoted both Haney and Ronen, a courtesy the mayor’s press releases do not typically extend to her frequent political rivals.
The goal is to provide an appropriate, effective, coordinated non-law enforcement evidence based trained response to behavioral health emergencies in SF and divert people away from criminal legal settings and into behavioral health treatment and support.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) November 30, 2020
Haney too is marking the milestone via tweet, and the first of these response teams is being deployed today in his district’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Per a subsequent tweet in the above thread, the team will be out Mondays through Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., but will eventually operate 24/7.
There’s a lot of terminology here, but the broader program is Mental Health SF, the teams are called Street Crisis Response Team, and department that directs them will be called the Office of Coordinated Care, but that office is still being created. SF voters helped fund this thing by approving a business tax this past November, and a recent state supreme court ruling created a windfall of funds from 2018’s so-called Prop. C homeless tax.
Right now there is only one Street Crisis Response Team, but according to Mayor Breed, there will eventually be six of them, working seven days a week.
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Image: @LondonBreed via Twitter