Health

‘Laura’s Law’ No Quick Fix for Strained San Francisco Mental Health System

Robin Ngai, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 11 2014 - 10:33am

The challenge of preserving civil rights while providing mental health care dominated debate about “Laura’s Law,” a controversial measure adopted this week that gives family members and law enforcement a legal means to compel treatment. Proponents say the law will help families frustrated by their loved ones’ refusal to seek treatment, but service providers and activists say it is not a panacea for San Francisco's overstretched mental health system.

Big Businesses Use State Tax Fund to Train Their Own Staff

Alex Kekauoha, San Francisco Public Press — Dec 12 2013 - 1:11pm

Some subsidies, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, are awarded to multinational corporations valued in the billions

State subsidies for vocational training might provide a windfall to large corporations already able to offer similar instruction, if a planned expansion of a program funded through a tax on all businesses in California moves forward. State officials say they aim the vocational training funding at big businesses in key industries that are in danger of relocating to other states. But while tens of thousands of smaller companies pay into the program via the Employment Training Tax, it is hard for most to qualify for grants. Many do not even know the program exists.

SAN FRANCISCO’S WORKFORCE REBOOT is the cover story in the fall 2013 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press. Check back for updates on other stories.

S.F. Board Watch: Supervisors Question High Cost of Jailhouse Calls

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 20 2013 - 5:55pm

The cost of a call from jail could come down, if the Board of Supervisors has its way. At San Francisco’s jails, inmates must pay an initial fee of between $1.25 and $3.95 for each phone call and are charged between 10 and 69 cents a minute, depending on whether it is local or out-of-state. Under a contract with an outside company, the Sheriff’s Department receives 65 percent of the money, for a fund to provide inmate services and supplies. The contract  is expected to generate more than $3 million in revenue over its four-year term, but the supervisors are talking about renegotiating.

In other news: Concerns over sex offenders at Bayview Homeless Shelter, city money to stop nonprofit displacement and the soda tax expected to appear on next year’s November ballot.

How ‘Healthy San Francisco’ Matters – and Doesn’t – in Obamacare

Angela Hart, KQED — Oct 7 2013 - 10:14pm

Government shutdown temporarily aside, effective Jan. 1, 2014, most people need to carry health insurance or pay a fine. It’s called the “individual mandate.” If you’re signed up with Healthy San Francisco, there’s one very important thing you need to know: Healthy San Francisco is not health insurance. So, it’s not going to get you off the hook for that individual mandate.

State Homeless ‘Bill of Rights’ Put on Hold Until Next Year

T.J. Johnston, San Francisco Public Press — May 30 2013 - 3:41pm

A “homeless bill of rights” in California must wait until next year for a vote in the full Assembly after clearing its first hurdle.  Advocates say the legislation would protect homeless people from local enforcement of so-called “quality of life” laws, and specify homeless people as deserving of protection in the state’s antidiscrimination statutes.

S.F. civil grand jury slams restaurant health care surcharges

Barbara Grady, SF Public Press — Jul 19 2012 - 5:49pm

San Francisco’s civil grand jury on Thursday chastised many of the city’s restaurants for profiting from surcharges they add to customers’ bills under the name of paying for health care and recommended that the city ban the practice.

Most Haight merchants say nothing changed on street after ‘sit-lie’ prohibition

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jul 16 2012 - 11:36am

A majority of retailers surveyed last November in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood said the enactment of San Francisco’s sit-lie law hasn’t worked as expected: Homeless people still hang out in front of their businesses.  An independent research report commissioned by the city found that 58 percent of the merchants in the district — the focus of a political battle that led to voter approval of the ban in 2010 — say the same number of people or more continue to park themselves on sidewalks. Sixty-one percent said they encountered sidewalk sitters at least three times per week.

Young poets launch social justice campaign against diabetes

Zaineb Mohammed, New America Media — Jun 11 2012 - 11:30am

Amid rising rates of diabetes in teenagers, youth are leading a new campaign to combat the social and environmental factors that created the epidemic. “This campaign is more about the social determinants of the disease,” said Sarah Fine, project director for the Youth Speaks UCSF Public Health Literacy Project. “We want to change the conversation to what are the social forces exacerbating the epidemic and what can we do to affect change.” 

S.F. to tackle shelter waiting game for disabled and older homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jun 6 2012 - 4:52pm

UPDATE: Listen to reporter T.J. Johnston's updated report on this story at KQED news here. The health of homeless people — especially older and disabled ones — is endangered by a time-consuming wait they endure daily when reserving a bed in San Francisco’s public shelter system, advocates and city officials say. As a result of a hearing before a Board of Supervisors panel, the city has begun a series of public meetings with providers, city officials and clients, to seek improvements in shelter access and the health of senior and disabled clients. Homeless policy director Bevan Dufty and others hope to work out a plan this summer and present it to the board.

Chinatown death triggers worries about isolated seniors

Summer Chiang, New America Media — May 7 2012 - 4:30pm

A tragedy happened in San Francisco’s Chinatown in mid-April. Yee-Shui Mar, 91, fell from a window in her apartment building. The Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported that Mar, who was from Taishan City in Guangdong province, lived alone. She had a married daughter and grandchildren living elsewhere.  

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