By Gloria Rodríguez
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Drug users must enter treatment before they can get San Francisco County cash assistance, according to a proposed rule announced by Mayor London Breed on Tuesday.
It’s part of a new plan that aims at holding people who receive government aid accountable.
The initiative would mean the homeless or formerly homeless getting financial assistance from the city and county must go through a screening first and then undergo substance abuse treatment to get that money.
Mayor Breed said, “We’re on track in this city this year to exceed the highest number of overdose deaths that we have since this thing has really taken over, dominated, destroyed and taken away lives, and we need to do something about it.”
Mayor Breed, along with Supervisor Matt Dorsey, Trent Rhorer from the San Francisco Human Services Agency and others, spoke about the plan.
Rhorer says there are 5,200 people who are part of the County Adult Assistance Program, which provides cash assistance to the homeless and formerly homeless.
He says they’re proposing to have everyone get assessed to see if they have a substance abuse disorder, then they would need to undergo substance abuse treatment to get the money.
Treatment would range from medically-assisted treatment to outpatient options. Those who refuse or don’t successfully engage would not be eligible to get the funds.
“I am grateful for the clarification f rom the city attorney around the work we’re doing to clear encampments in San Francisco and just for clarity on that, again leading with service, leading with offers of help, leading with support but there can no longer a climate of anything goes,” said Mayor Breed. “There has to be an accountability piece attached to that.”
This comes after the mayor said the city is stepping up efforts to clear homeless encampments.
City Attorney David Chiu says a judge clarified an injunction which limited the city’s response.
Chiu says the city can clear encampments as long as they first offer shelter to those living on the streets.
The mayor says this initiative will now go to the Board of Supervisors.
She says the goal is to get more people in treatment.
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