No. 5-02

Recognizing the Need For Increased Interdepartmental Coordination and Accountability In the Homeless Service Delivery System, Including Quantifiable Outcomes, and Supporting the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness In the Development of a Coordinated Intake Process For the Single Adult System

WHEREAS, since the early 1980s the nation has seen a major increase in homelessness and the Department of Public Health (DPH) recognizes San Francisco is no exception, with an estimated 10,000 to 14,000 homeless individuals in the City at any given time; and,

WHEREAS, this increase in homelessness was the result of a number of factors, including:

WHEREAS, the Department of Public Health’s mission is to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans, and DPH is committed to providing health care services to the uninsured, homeless, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons from low income neighborhoods; and,

WHEREAS, the Department of Public Health has been a major player along with the Department of Human Services (DHS) in responding to homeless need and, as homelessness increased, the Health Department began expanding programs to meet the ever-growing need; and,

WHEREAS, the expansion of homeless services throughout the City was not done in a systematic manner and DPH is no exception, with homeless programs appearing in every division of the Department, using different measurement tools to determine success; and,

WHEREAS, while the Department has made significant progress in coordinating homeless services through its Homeless Coordinating Committee, the City as a whole could improve on interdepartmental coordination and agreement on outcome measures; and,

WHEREAS, homeless programs can be evaluated separately, but not as a system of care, because the data is not available, and as a whole, the City has no way of identifying how many homeless individuals access services, who is in the system, or how much overlap exists between programs; and,

WHEREAS, it is very difficult to ascertain if services are having the desired outcomes, because DPH does not have the citywide data to support their effectiveness; and,

WHEREAS, DPH is currently working on the development of a set of standardized homeless indicators that will cross the Department’s continuum of services, and while this will improve DPH’s ability to evaluate programs internally, it will not impact the Department’s ability to evaluate how well its programs interface within the larger citywide continuum of services; and,

WHEREAS, the Mayor’s Office of Homeless has let a Request for Proposal to design a coordinated intake system for San Francisco’s homeless programs, ideally providing information on how many homeless persons are served, where they are served and what services are multiply accessed; and,

WHEREAS, this system will increase coordination and accountability between City departments participating in the homeless service delivery system, and it will provide City policy makers with the tools to be able to improve services by identifying gaps and needs; and,

WHEREAS, the system will help ensure that individualized, tailored services are provided to clients as well as assist in program development and evaluation; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Health Commission and the Department of Public Health support the development of a coordinated intake system for the homeless delivery system; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Health Commission recommends that the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Services jointly produce an annual report for their respective Commissions, the Mayor and Board of Supervisors; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the Health Commission recommends that DPH and DHS further review the role of “specialized” teams of outreach workers developing standardized assessments and referrals.

I hereby certify that the Health Commission at its meeting of May 7, 2002 adopted the foregoing resolution.

Michele M. Olson, Executive Secretary to the Health Commission