Online Tool For Tracking Treatment Beds Unveiled In San Francisco

By Victoria Kim 09/26/19

The tool will go live on the SF Health Network website in November.

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man tracking treatment bed availability online

A new online tool is scheduled to go live in November to help homeless San Franciscans find available treatment beds for substance use disorder or mental illness.

Mayor London Breed unveiled the tool on Tuesday (Sept. 24), as part of her Heal Our City initiative.

“When someone is experiencing homelessness, mental illness, and a substance use disorder, the last thing we should be doing is making it more complicated for them to get the care they need,” said Breed. “With this real-time data, we’ll be able to connect people more efficiently with available treatment beds, make better use of our existing resources, and identify opportunities for improvement in our existing system of care.”

Going Live In November

The tool will go live on the SF Health Network website in November. Anyone will have access to real-time information about the 350 short-term behavioral health treatment beds in San Francisco.

“We want to make the best possible use of the substance-use and mental health treatment resources that San Francisco already provides, and to make data-driven decisions about where we need to add services,” said Dr. Anton Nigusse Bland, the city’s first director of mental health reform.

However, not everyone was moved by the mayor’s announcement. “It’s mind boggling that our Department of Public Health still doesn’t know where its own beds are or who is in them,” said city supervisor Matt Haney, according to the SF Examiner. “This is a long overdue, though really minor, basic step towards a functional system.”

Haney is a vocal advocate for reforming the city’s approach to mental health care, drugs, and its homeless population. He has been critical of the city’s lack of a “comprehensive citywide strategy” in tackling these issues.

Drugs In The Tenderloin

This year it was reported that more than half (56%) of those arrested or cited for selling drugs in SF in 2017-2018 were in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood which falls under Haney’s District 6.

The problem is so dire that Haney introduced a city resolution that would declare drug abuse and overdose a public health crisis. He also sponsored legislation to establish a Street-Level Drug Dealing Task Force, which passed Tuesday (Sept. 24), to advise city officials on how to tackle its problem with drug dealing.

This November, Haney is urging San Franciscans to vote in favor of Mental Health SF, a program that would guarantee treatment for mental illness and substance use disorder for every resident.

“San Francisco has the opportunity to lead, to say, ‘This should be a right for everybody.’ We’re going to build a system around it,” Haney said in May.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr