Mayor announces funding to prevent closure of board and care facilities

To stem a yearslong decline in the number of board-and-care facilities citywide, San Francisco officials are taking steps to prevent two from shuttering, the mayor’s office announced Monday.

On Jan. 29, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development provided a $3.9 million loan to acquire Grove Street House, a nine-bed residential mental health facility offering 60-day stays in the North of the Panhandle, officials said.

About $675,000 of the loan will go toward capital improvements including seismic strengthening as well as electrical, plumbing and ventilation upgrades.

The City has also filed an intent to purchase South Van Ness Manor, a 29-bed licensed board and care facility, officials said. The price is still being negotiated.

“The Grove Street House and South Van Ness Manor provide essential care for some of our most vulnerable residents — people with mental health challenges and substance use disorder, and people who are looking for a step on the path out of homelessness,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.

The previous owner at Grove Street House intended to sell the facility, according to the home’s service provider PRC/Baker Places.

The owner of South Van Ness Manor had notified the state of California in October that they intended to shut down, city officials said. A person answering the phone at the South Van Ness facility said it is still open but otherwise declined to speak.

The City’s offers mark the first time San Francisco has tried to purchase board and care homes, according to the mayor’s office.

“As The City works to create more places for unhoused people struggling with mental illness, it is critical that we preserve our existing stock of beds and units,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said in a statement. “I’m glad to see The City stepping up to preserve these two facilities, and we need to do much more of this in the future.”

The number of board and care facilities in San Francisco fell by 30% between 2012 and 2018, according to a study published by the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council Assisted Living Workgroup in January 2019.

Breed, Mandelman, Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer and former Supervisor Vallie Brown in September 2019 announced a plan to stabilize board and care facilities, authorize The City to acquire them and reduce pressures to turn the facilities into residences.

“The city needs to step up its efforts to purchase and lease properties that are at risk of closing so that we can preserve critical facilities like South Van Ness Manor that so many of our residents depend on,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen in a statement. “In light of the city’s dual homelessness and mental health crisis, we need these board-and-care facilities now more than ever.”

PRC/Baker Places assesses clients, plans their development, offers rehabilitation services and provides crisis intervention at Grove Street House, according to the company’s Chief Strategic Officer Katherine Bella. The company — which has operated at Grove Street House for about four decades through a rental lease — has served primarily low-income residents who live with mental health and substance use challenges, nearly half ages 50 or older, Bella said.

South Van Ness Manor wouldn’t comment on the specific care services it provides.

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