Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health today announced the acquisition of two buildings that will house people living with mental health and substance use disorders as part of the City’s long-term plan to strengthen and expand access to behavioral health support. The two buildings, located on Florida Street in the Mission and Dore Street in the South of Market neighborhood, will be transformed into cooperative housing for twenty-six adults under the City’s Cooperative Living for Mental Health (CLMH) Program.
The cooperative living model created under CLMH is a key part of San Francisco’s work to provide housing and care for people with mental health and substance use disorders. Cooperative living allows people with mental health and substance use disorders to live in community with access to care, services, and treatment in spaces operated by local behavioral health service providers. The model can also assist in progress to independent living. Purchasing cooperative living buildings shields these spaces from market volatility, protecting clients and allowing the City’s community-based organization partners to continue to offer much needed affordable housing.
“These buildings are part of our long-term strategy to transform how we deliver support for those living with mental health and substance use challenges,” said Mayor Breed. “We are focusing on a whole range of solutions that cover everything from improving street outreach to providing safe, supportive housing for our most vulnerable residents. This is all part of our commitment to create a safer, healthier San Francisco for all.”
In addition to these purchases that ensure the long-term affordability of existing beds, San Francisco is adding 400 new treatment beds for people experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. This represents a 20% increase in the City’s residential treatment capacity. In 2021 alone, San Francisco will see 140 new beds opened, including the following:
- The 20-bed SOMA RISE Center, which will open this winter as part of the City’s response to the drug overdose crisis. It will offer a safe indoor space for people who have used methamphetamine or other substances, monitor their health while intoxicated, and connecting them with other health and social services.
- A 10-bed residential treatment facility specifically designed to treat young adults with serious mental health and/or substance use disorders is under design.
- Neighborhood-based psychiatric respite facilities for people experiencing homelessness to shelter in a safe, supportive environment where they can also access ongoing care.
Nonprofit supportive housing and behavioral health care provider Conard House will own and operate the two CLMH properties on Florida and Dore Streets in partnership with the City’s Department of Public Health (DPH). Established in 1960 with the first transitional housing program in San Francisco, Conard House operates and provides social services at nine residential hotels and 19 private apartments across San Francisco, inclusive of the Florida and Dore Street locations.
“Establishing sustainable, viable and cost-effective housing opportunities for people living with serious mental health challenges is what these acquisitions represent and what we want to expand in San Francisco. Cooperative housing offers long-term solutions and alternatives to inpatient treatment, incarceration and homelessness. With public-private partnerships and initiatives like CLMH, we can ensure that everyone has a place to call home in San Francisco,” said Anne Quaintance, Executive Director of Conard House.
“Cooperative housing is a critical part of behavioral health services for people with serious mental health and substance use disorders. Mayor Breed’s commitment to preserve cooperative living spaces, as well as open 400 new treatment and care beds across San Francisco, addresses people’s psychiatric needs as well as their housing needs, which are both vital to achieving health and recovery,” said Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax. “With the purchases at Florida and Dore Streets, DPH is pleased to continue our partnership with Conard House and continue to offer supportive housing for some of our residents most in need.”
1140-1142 Florida Street is located in the Mission District and will house 8 adults in separate bedrooms, with access to shared kitchens, bathrooms, and a large backyard. 139-145 Dore Street in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, will consist of six 3-bedroom apartments that will accommodate 18 adults. In both locations, residents will have individual bedrooms but will share common spaces. Conard House will provide services and case management to residents to ensure success living in their new homes.
“Congratulations to Conard House for taking on these first two cooperative living sites for people with chronic mental illness,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who authored the CLMH legislation in 2019. “One of the most glaring gaps in our response to mental illness is the lack of housing options for people exiting residential treatment programs. For many people who are dealing with a combination of psychiatric and addiction issues, the key to stability and success is to be away from larger, sometimes hectic living situations that can trigger continued crises. Cooperative living can open the door to stability and serenity in their lives. These two properties mark a great step forward addressing our mental health crisis.”
“Any effective response to the crisis on our streets will require us to create more appropriate placements for unsheltered people with significant behavioral health needs,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “The Cooperative Living Opportunities for Mental Health Program is one innovative housing model for getting sick people off the streets into care. Bravo to Mayor Breed and Supervisor Ronen for their leadership; we need many more such facilities, in my district and across the city.”
“The City’s Cooperative Living Mental Health program fills a critical gap in providing housing for those struggling with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “This is an opportunity to help stabilize some of our most vulnerable residents, provide onsite care, and prevent homelessness. My district in particular has suffered from the lack of appropriate responses and solutions to the mental health and substance use crises we are seeing on our streets. This program is a key component in finally addressing these issues.”
The acquisitions and most rehabilitations planned for each site were financed by the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development expects to provide HAF with permanent financing for the buildings in 2022 following the completion of repair improvements and upgrades.
“We created the Housing Accelerator Fund to make sure the City and its partners were able to quickly access the resources they need to implement innovative, impactful solutions like the CLMH program,” said HAF’s CEO Rebecca Foster. “We look forward to continuing to work with the City and housing providers like Conard House to connect more residents to supportive homes.”
For the latest update on San Francisco’s residential care and treatment expansion, go to: sf.gov/residential-care-and-treatment.