The City’s residential treatment capacity will expand by 20 percent with the addition of new beds. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner, 2019)

The City’s residential treatment capacity will expand by 20 percent with the addition of new beds. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner, 2019)

San Francisco adding 400 new drug and mental health treatment beds

The City will create 400 new treatment beds, 140 of which will open this year, for people experiencing mental health or substance abuse issues, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced this week.

The beds, which will increase San Francisco’s residential treatment capacity by 20 percent, will allow outreach workers in Street Crisis Response Teams who respond to roughly 500 calls per month to refer more clients to treatment facilities.

“This is an unprecedented expansion of our system of care and treatment for people with mental health and substance use disorders,” Breed said. “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.”

She said, “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.”

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health is in negotiations to acquire facilities that can house the people in need of beds.

Some projects, such as a 10-bed residential treatment facility for young adults with serious mental health and substance abuse disorders, are still in the design process. Others are slated to open this year.

The 20-bed South of Market Recover, Initiate, Support, and Engagement (SOMA RISE) Center will open in fall as a part of San Francisco’s response to the drug overdose crisis. People intoxicated on methamphetamine or other substances will be able to monitor their health there, and staff can connect them with services.

“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,” Supervisor Matt Haney said. “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.”

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