Mayor London Breed on Monday announced a two-year, $1.7 million plan to support residential care services for seniors suffering from mental illness and medical needs as well as to boost street cleaning and safety.
The proposal comes in time to change the city budget proposal now awaiting approval. The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote to approve the budget with Breed’s requested amendment on Tuesday.
That would put Breed’s stamp on the budget proposal that was introduced and negotiated by former Mayor Mark Farrell with the board’s Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Supervisor Malia Cohen. It is Breed’s first budget request as mayor since she was sworn in July 11.
Breed announced the funding for the residential care facilities at the Victorian Manor, a family-owned and operated residential care facility, or board and care facility, at 1444 McAllister St. They provide housing for those facing medical and behavioral health issues.
She was joined by the head of the Department of Public Health, Barbara Garcia, board president Malia Cohen and Supervisors Vallie Brown and Rafael Mandelman, who are supporting the proposal.
“Our residential care homes are a very important form of housing in San Francisco, providing compassionate support,” Garcia said. The City “depends on these homes and facilities to ensure our clients are safe and that they get the care that they need.”
Breed said the funding would “stabilize residential care facilities that support our most vulnerable populations.”
Breed wants $1 million to boost the support of 37 residential care facilities that house more than 350 residents, many of whom have a history of homelessness.
“We have to make sure that we invest in preventing homelessness in the first place,” Breed said. “We know that this particular facility, along with so many others throughout our city, continues to struggle financially.”
The funding boost will help close the gap between the cost of services provided to those being served and what their Social Security pays for. The City currently spends $2.5 million a year on what they call a “patch” to close the funding gap.
That “patch” currently ranges from $19 a day up to $93, depending on the level of care, such as if a patient is in need of skilled nurses. With the proposed funding boost, the “patch” would range from $22 a day to $105, according to DPH spokesperson Rachael Kagan.
The support is also meant to preserve the remaining residential care facilities, which are dwindling.
“Due to funding cuts and lack of resources at the state and federal level, the City has helped to bridge the funding gap, but many of the City’s board and care facilities have been forced to close,” according to statement from the Mayor’s Office. “In the past five years, the number of DPH contracted facilities has dropped from 70 to 37. This has many repercussions, including individuals staying in a higher level of care than needed, which causes a backlog in the entire system of care.”
Bernadette Joseph, an owner of the Victorian Manor, said, “The new funding will help us make ends meet and continue to serve the seniors that we care so much about.”
She said that Victorin Manor serves 90 elderly clients “with various needs, including dementia, medical and mental health needs.” She added, “Our home provides a place where seniors can live in the community and be as independent as possible.”
Breed called the city funding a “down payment” and said The City is studying various options to increase and sustain the residential care facilities with recommendations coming by the end of the year.
Mandelman said that “it’s critical that we stabilize our existing stock of board and care facilities and create more care options for those who need them.” He added, “It’s an important first step.”
The remaining $724,000 would go toward increasing street cleaning and street safety. In a Monday letter to the board, Breed said the funding would go toward the Fix-It Team, a collaboration of city departments to concentrate cleaning efforts in specific areas of The City, and add “high capacity waste stations, lights and cameras to key commercial corridors across The City to ensure our public spaces are safe and clean for everyone in our city.”
The $1.7 million funding comes from unallocated funds from unanticipated revenues that the City Controller’s Office identified in June. The budget committee reallocated funding in its review of the budget, but these funds Breed wants to use are the remaining balance.