SF to establish health standards in shelters

March 26, 2008 9:21:32 AM PDT
San Francisco supervisors today gave final approval to an ordinance establishing minimum health and safety standards in city homeless shelters.

The ordinance, introduced by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, requires city-funded shelters to supply basic needs such as soap and toilet paper, clean towels, sheets and blankets; fresh drinking water and nutritious meals; and 24-hour access for homeless clients to shelters.

The legislation also mandates training for shelter staff in de-escalating violent situations and in implementing California Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards at the shelters.

Homeless advocates have argued that many of the estimated 6,000 homeless residents of San Francisco choose to stay on the streets because of conditions at some shelters.

Ammiano's legislation received the support of the city's Shelter Monitoring Committee as well as the Coalition on Homelessness.

The Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance this afternoon by a 9-2 vote. If signed into law by Mayor Gavin Newsom, it will go into effect 30 days later.

Implementation of the ordinance will cost the city an estimated $160,000 annually, according to Ammiano.


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