Supervisors and Assemblyman seek funding to save San Francisco
Trauma Recovery Center
By Elizabeth Pfeffer
June 18, 2006
In the final weeks of City budget negotiations, some San Francisco
politicians have found a cause to go public for: The San Francisco
Trauma Recovery Center, a nationally accoladed project that will
shut its doors Nov. 1 without renewed funding.
Supervisors Chris Daly and Sophie Maxwell joined Assemblyman
Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) Friday to announce their hope of nudging
$1.5 million of backing for the center into the final cut of the
Mayor's 2006-2007 budget.
"The program is an innovative model for cost-effective care
for victims of trauma," said its founder, Dr. Alicia Boccellari,
director of the Division of Psychosocial Medicine at San Francisco
Located on a sunny corner at the end of Mariposa Street, the
center serves about 800 trauma victims yearly. In four and a half
years it has improved the quality of life of trauma victims, in
ways ranging from mental health support to housing assistance.
Trauma victims are both directly and indirectly affected by crimes,
Dr. Boccellari said.
Kathy Young-Hood's son was killed from a gunshot wound. She called
the women in her therapy group 'sisters', and credited them as
well as the center's staff for her survival. "Without the
center I would not be here today. I would have committed suicide
by now. I would not have been able to pick up my life again and
attempt to go on."
Patricia C. Tak was shot in the face and disfigured. Although
she was unable to speak while in the hospital, she received the
company of one of the center's therapists while bed ridden. Without
the center's support she doesn't know if she would have allowed
herself to reintegrate back into society.
The full list of successes is in the thousands, which is why
Supervisors Daly and Maxwell, and Assemblyman Leno are vying to
save the center.
Aside from being a beneficial resource for trauma victims, the
center is also highly cost effective.
Because it only costs $1.5 million to operate the center for
one year, and one visit to San Francisco General's psychiatric
emergency room costs the City $2,000, Leno said the math is obvious
with 800 victims visiting the center repeatedly throughout the
Last year Leno introduced legislation to fund the center from
the state's Victim Compensation Fund, which is at an $80 million
surplus and growing.
Despite majority approval from the assembly and senate, Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, thus slashing funding for
But Leno isn't ready to let this cause fall to the wayside.
"Things don't always get done the first time, but we don't
He is proposing a new bill this year that will make Victim Restitution
Funds more readily available and to create a handful of new trauma
recovery centers statewide.
In the meantime, the only hope for San Francisco's center is
City and County funding.
Daly encouraged supporters to lobby their Supervisors and make
public comment at the June 22 Budget and Finance Committee meeting.