Supes act to strengthen shelter monitoring
"This is about a minimum standard of care"
District 9 Supevisor Tom Ammiano
By Julia Cheever
June 27, 2007
Passing a law amending three city codes was necessary, Supervisor
Tom Ammiano said Tuesday, because the best efforts of a citizen
monitoring panel on homeless shelters weren't enough to ensure
that even items like toilet paper would be on hand.
The ordinance, by Ammiano and Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, passed
unanimously at the Board of Supervisors, endows the Shelter Monitoring
Committee with powers it previously lacked.
The new code requires the Health Department to commit administrative
support to the monitoring panel, requires committee members to
maintain confidentiality on certain matters, and requires city
departments to respond to reasonable requests for information
within 15 days.
"They just get blown off," Ammiano said of the panel's
previous requests for information. "But this is about a lack
of toilet paper. This is about a minimum standard of care,"
Ammiano said. "In some cases this is about reports of mistreatment."
The supervisor said the following few months would be a critical
juncture as advocates, caregivers and officials collaborate on
the often contentious issue.
Most urgently needed, he said, were ways of helping staff at
homeless shelters endure high employee turnover rates while providing
service to shelter clients.
The Shelter Monitoring Committee delivers quarterly reports to
the Rules Committee of the Board of Supervisors.
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