SF May Try Non-Police Response to Homeless
The mission of CART (Compassionate Alternative Response Team) is to provide an alternative to a police response to homelessness in San Francisco.
The program is supported by a number of community organizations including the San Francisco Public Defenders Office, the SF Dept. of Public Health and the San Francisco Police Commission.
Related: SF Now Sends “Crisis Team” to Some 911 Calls Instead of Cops – 12/1/20
Under the proposal, 911 and 311 calls related to homelessness would be rerouted from police and first responders to a new hotline with a team of social workers, medics, mental health experts and sanitation teams with the goal of providing compassionate non-violent conflict resolution for our unhoused neighbors.
The goal is to reduce the need for police interactions for those experience homelessness when situations are non-violent.
On a typical day, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers respond to 179 homelessness-related incidents, or 1,253 weekly, most often resulting in move-along orders, citations, and destruction of property; systematically limiting homeless people’s access to services, housing, and jobs, while damaging their health, safety, and well-being.
Advocates for CART estimate the plan would cost $6.825 million annually, and could save $11 million annually. The budget proposal still needs to be approved by the city.