SEIU 1021

Hundreds Rally To Stop The Displacement Of People With Severe Mental Illness
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On Aug. 22, hundreds of public health advocates, elected officials, and healthcare workers rallied to support patients with mental illness from getting evicted from the Adult Residential Facility (ARF) at San Francisco General Hospital.  The SF Department of Public Health (DPH) is displacing severely mentally ill residents that are permanently housed at the ARF to make way for a Homeless Navigation Center with temporary shelter beds.

“These patients cannot prepare their own food, do their own laundry nor manage their own money. They also cannot manage their medications, without which they would return to suffering major psychiatric crises on a regular basis and would cycle through the city’s ER’s and psychiatric emergency room,” said Jennifer Esteen, a registered psychiatric nurse at ZSFGH and a member of SEIU1021.

This month, 18 patients in the ARF received 60-day eviction notices. The DPH administration sent a letter informing healthcare workers –members of SEIU 1021 and Local 21– that the adult population will be losing 41 beds, to only 13 permanent beds. Many ARF patients fear for their well being.

Members of the Board of Supervisors are worried about the implications of DPH’s short-sighted decision.

“I am extremely concerned that the Department of Public Health is planning to cut 41 out of 55 long-term beds for severely mentally ill adults in San Francisco. This decision will lead to more mentally ill people left homeless, wondering our streets. The city is facing a mental health crisis. We need to be increasing the number of beds for mentally ill people, not reducing them, said Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

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