Demand for Standard of Care Enforcement Powers to be given to the SF Shelter Monitoring Committee
This is the site for San Francisco residents to sign an Online Petition to give enforcement powers over tax payer funded Homeless Shelters to the SF Shelter Monitoring Committee [ SMC ], who sponsored a community work group to address the lack of uniform 'Standards of Care' in San Francisco's Homeless Shelter System.
The SMC's work group was comprised of homeless shelter residents, shelter staff and management, community advocates and interested local residents.
The end product of this work group was the drafting of legislation that provides for a new set of 'Minimum Standards of Care' for homeless shelter staff and residents.
The proposed legislation would also provide for the Shelter Monitoring Committee to have the power to enforce the new standards using a combination of 'warning letters'; monetary fines (for repeat violations); and possible review of a shelter's City contract (with the non-profit service providers).
Review of a shelter providers's contract (due to continual non-compliance or gross violations) would cause repeat violators of the new homeless shelter safety, health and hygiene standards to have their contracts revoked.
The management contract for a particular shelter site(s) itself, be 'transitioned' to other compentent service providers in a way that would preclude having to shut down a bad site.
These standards are to be a model for other cities. The key benefit is that it would put an end to the cyclical systematic abuse and neglect that has plagued San Francisco's shelter system for many years now.
Historically, this legislation is a natural progression towards ending the long time 'staus quo' of homeless shelter operations and contracts which hampered competition and caused homeless residents to suffer abuse and neglect due to lack of proper implementation and enforcement of basic health, safety and nutritional standards.
The HSA (SF Human Services Agency) had been the responsible agency with contractural oversight of the shelters, yet the same acts of abuse, neglect and harmful shelter conditions had been reported year after year, by the community and by shelter staff and residents, with little or no changes or improvement because there was no incentive.
The major shelter provider contracts kept going to the same group, so there was no incentive to improve shelter conditions or enforce local and state health and safety standards.
After a Grand Jury investigation of the shelters, a few years back and now with the presence of the new Shelter Monitoring Committee (who has been proactive in their shelter inspections and reports to the Board of Supervisors) the ability to break the cycles of abuse and non-compliance by some shelter providers is not within reach.
Honest and vigorous enforcement of these new standards will likely lead to improvement of the shelter conditions which would logically lead to more people moving off the streets and back into shelters knowing that they will finally be safe there.
Several shelters have already started implementing standards without waiting for legislation or funding by the City. Other shelters, especially those with the worst track records, have not responded well to requests for information during the drafting of these new standards and if the HSA keeps its role as 'enforcer' of these standards, those shelters will not likely change for the better.
However, if the Shelter Monitoring Committee is given its proper due rights to enforce the new standards they took the lead on creating, chances are even the worst shelter providers will have to improve their performance records and change the way they operate or they may find themselves without a contract.
The Shelter Monitoring Committee, through its announced and unannounced shelter inspection programs have been providing the Board of Supervisors and the entire San Francisco community with an unprecedented glimpse into the realities of our city's shelter system, through their required Quarterly and Annual Reports which are truly eye openers and a must read for anyone that is trying to understand the realities of San Francisco's homeless shelter system.
The homeless community has been well served by the SMC and they look forward to their enforcement of the new standards because they have proven their ability to put politics aside and report the truth about how bad some shelters have been and really are.
The SMC reports are available here:
SMC Documents Page:
Individual Document Reports ( right click with mouse on links to Save As... to disk or open up in MS Word )
1st Quarter 2006 -
2nd Quarter 2006 -
3rd Quarter 2006 -