Community groups organized a gathering at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza to call for increased investment in social services in response to recent violent attacks on Asian Americans.

After Violent Attacks, Community Groups Call for Social Services, Solidarity

A series of violent crimes against Asian seniors in the Bay Area has sparked concern and calls to action, including public gatherings. In San Francisco and Oakland, organizers arranged for socially distanced events over the weekend to emphasize the need for additional resources and services to advance public safety.

Swords to Plowshares Providing In-Person Veterans Services During Pandemic

While its Veterans Day dinner on Wednesday evening will be virtual, staff at the veterans services group Swords to Plowshares have been reaching out to and providing help for veterans in person at drop-in centers and on the street in San Francisco. In addition to some 400 veterans it had already housed permanently, the organization has been able to secure temporary stays in hotel rooms for about 200 people during the pandemic, said executive director Michael Blecker.

Responding to Homelessness With Law Enforcement Ineffective, Researchers Say

Researchers at the Urban Institute have been looking into how effective various responses to homelessness are. In a series of blog posts, they issue a warning against a punitive response to homelessness and recommend other ways to respond to homelessness, especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic that threatens millions of people’s livelihoods and housing stability.

Bond Measure Seeks to Boost S.F. Out of Coronavirus-Induced Slump

At the top of the list of local ballot measures going before voters in November is Proposition A, billed as the “Health and Recovery Bond.” Several initiatives would be funded by this $487.5 million bond, including the development of behavioral health and substance abuse services, expansion of shelters and temporary housing, renovating or developing parks and repairs to infrastructure like roads.

George Koster

‘Voices of the Community’ Begins Airing on KSFP

A new radio series examining how nonprofit organizations in San Francisco are managing challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic begins broadcasting today on KSFP 102.5 FM in San Francisco. “Voices of the Community” is produced by George Koster and will air Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Health Right

COVID-19 Opens New Frontiers in Addiction Medicine

When Mayor London Breed announced a strict shelter-in-place order on March 16 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, health facilities scrambled to identify ways to safely see patients. For addiction medicine doctors, this presented a particularly difficult challenge: Patients engaged in medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction must be seen frequently, often every few days. Regular doctor visits are not just helpful for people’s recovery but until that point had been required by the federal government for the dispensing of certain opioid addiction medications. As doctors across San Francisco switched to telehealth visits — talking to patients over the phone or through video chat — an unexpected shift took place. Missed appointments, a norm before the shelter-in-place order, became rare.

Compass unhoused families

Service Providers Warn Budget Cuts Could Amplify Displacement Wave

San Francisco’s housing and homelessness service providers worry that City Hall’s budget decisions will leave them unprepared to face an expected wave of housing displacement. Interviews with staffers at a dozen nonprofits found that calls for assistance have increased by at least 30% and at some organizations by as much as 200% since March when the pandemic forced San Francisco residents to shelter in place amid a recession characterized by widespread income loss. Many providers are concerned expected city budget cuts will hobble their ability to provide vital aid like rental assistance, legal representation in eviction cases, food and emergency shelter, just when clients need help the most. One likely outcome of expected cutbacks they predicted: a worsening of the city’s already daunting homelessness crisis. “We’re all bracing ourselves for a huge growth in the numbers of those who are living on the streets, no question,” said Sara Shortt, director of public policy and community outreach at the Community Housing Partnership, a supportive housing nonprofit.

Delonzo Gallon's cubicle

At Moscone Homeless Shelter, Hazardous Conditions, Inconsistent Coronavirus Testing

As Moscone Center began accepting new homeless residents from street encampments in recent weeks, residents and advocates expressed concerns about safety at the convention center and other group shelter settings. Three residents said COVID-19 testing prior to admittance at Moscone Center is inconsistent, residents don’t reliably wear masks and sanitation is lacking. Bathrooms were particularly problematic, they said, citing feces-smeared toilet stalls and showers reeking of urine. “I have yet to see a standardized testing protocol for the reopening of shelters. I don’t know if one exists,” said Brian Edwards, a Coalition on Homelessness organizer and member of the Shelter Monitoring Committee, the city’s homeless shelter oversight board.