San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed recently proposed mandatory drug testing and treatment for those receiving welfare.
On Tuesday, Breed offered a plan to tackle the city's homeless and substance abuse crisis. Breed's initiative would require those suspected of substance abuse problems who want to receive funds through the County Adult Assistance Program to undergo mandatory drug testing and treatment programs. Those who refuse testing and treatment interventions would be ineligible to receive county-funded cash assistance.
The program currently provides housed residents up to $697 per month, and homeless residents are guaranteed $105 per month and a shelter bed, the New York Post reported.
According to KRON-TV, approximately 8,000 homeless people reside in San Francisco, and roughly half refuse to use the city's provided shelter services. In 2023, San Francisco's Healthy Streets Operations Center approached 2,344 homeless individuals to offer shelter, but 45% declined.
"We need to make a significant change," Breed stated during a Tuesday news conference. "No more 'anything goes' without accountability, no more handouts without accountability."
The mayor's initiative "aims to incentivize individuals with substance use disorder to get the help they need to recover."
Intervention programs include "residential treatment, medical detox, medically-assisted treatment, outpatient options, and abstinence-based treatment, among others based on the needs of the client," the mayor's office reported.
The San Francisco Human Services Agency reported that 20% of County Adult Assistance Program recipients from 2018 to 2020 admitted to having substance abuse problems.
"The incidence of substance use disorders among San Francisco's CAAP population is significantly higher than among the citywide population generally, especially among our recipients who are experiencing homelessness," said Trent Rhorer, SFHSA executive director. "This initiative aims to support our clients who have substance use disorders by motivating them to get the help they need, which we hope will lead to ending their drug abuse and their homelessness."
Breed's proposal must be approved by the Board of Supervisors before it can be enacted. If the measure is rejected, it could be added to a ballot initiative to allow voters to decide.
"We will continue to support those struggling with addiction who want help. People who refuse to enroll in our treatment services offered will no longer receive county-funded cash assistance. We're a city of compassion, but we also must have accountability," Breed stated on Wednesday.
Breed is running for re-election in November 2024.
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.