The Board of Supervisors is back from August recess and we are busy! On October 7th,
I joined Glen Park at the first-ever Glen Park Art Walk. Congratulations to Glen Park
Merchants Association and all of the organizers on a successful event! I also joined
Glen Park Association on October 12th for their Fall Meeting and discussed our office’s
recent efforts to increase traffic enforcement, revitalize our downtown, and reform our
behavioral health system.
Encampment Resolutions – Clarifying the Ryu Injunction
For those of you who have been following the long saga of San Francisco’s struggle with unsheltered homelessness, there have been important developments over the summer. Since
December, the City has been grappling with the implications of an injunction issued by
Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu in a lawsuit brought against the City by the Coalition on
Homelessness and ACLU. The precise meaning of the injunction has been much
disputed, but one plausible (though troubling) interpretation has been that the City could
not dismantle encampments even when the City had offered the inhabitants of those
encampments alternative shelter. And the City had been unable to get Judge Ryu to
issue a clarification. On September 5, the Ninth Circuit did issue a clarification, noting
that individuals who had received and refused real offers of shelter should not be
considered “involuntarily homeless” and thus were not within the scope of the
The Coalition’s lawsuit will continue, but in the meanwhile the Ninth Circuit clarification
will allow City staff to move ahead with encampment resolutions to the extent the City
has shelter available to offer. Which, in my mind at least, again highlights the great
need to move forward with implementation of my Place for All legislation, which would
provide a safe exit from the streets for any unhoused person willing to accept it and
allow us to move forward with consistent encampment removal citywide.
Reforming Our Behavioral Health System:
As San Francisco continues to reckon with the mental health and overdose crisis on our streets, I have worked to support the implementation of local and state initiatives to ensure that those struggling with addiction on our streets get the treatment and services they desperately need. Two
weeks ago, I introduced a hearing taking place on November 9th on the current state of
our City’s Treatment on Demand. In this hearing, we plan to assess unmet need for
treatment and identify changes to ensure the City is offering immediately accessible
substance use services for those seeking them.
Several state level initiatives I supported were also recently passed to make long
overdue reforms to our behavioral health system. SB 43, which was signed into law last
week, expands eligibility for conservatorship to situations where people cannot manage
their medical care or personal safety. It also adds substance-use disorders in addition to
mental illness as an applicable condition. The Governor also placed Proposition 1 on
the March 2024 ballot that, if passed by California voters, would utilize an over $6 billion
bond to fund thousands of behavioral health beds across the state. The initiative would
also update the Mental Health Services Act to require counties to use $1 billion each
year on housing for those living with severe mental illness or substance use disorders.
Lastly, San Francisco was one of six other counties across the state to implement
CARE Court, a program that matches those struggling with untreated mental illness with
a Court-ordered care plan for up to two years. CARE Court is no silver bullet, as it
requires voluntary participation and serves those diagnosed with a limited category of
mental illness, but is one tool the City can use to connect people to desperately needed
treatment and services.
If you have any questions, concerns, or want to sign up for time with me at our regular
virtual or in-person office hours, please contact my office at
Mandelmanstaff@sfgov.org, or by calling (415) 554-6968. For periodic updates on my office’s work, please call or email and ask to be added to our newsletter list.
Rafael Mandelman represents District 8 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.