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Homeless community and nonprofit share concerns over San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s drug treatment proposal for financial aid

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A new plan in San Francisco to help drug addicts is rejected.

Mayor London Breed’s proposal would require testing and treatment for drug use before people can get cash assistance.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors must approve the plan before it can take effect.

RELATED: Drug addicts must undergo treatment to get cash assistance from SF County, Mayor Breed proposes

Markael Eugene Raybon calls San Francisco’s Mission District home – at least for now.

“I live on the streets and I still worry about life on the streets every day,” he said.

He says Tuesday’s announcement by Mayor London Breed adds to his concerns.

“Nothing is left without responsibility anymore. No more handouts without responsibility,” Raybon said.

MORE: SF to speed up cleanup of homeless encampments after court clarification, officials say

Currently in San Francisco, more than 5,000 unhoused or formerly unhoused people receive nearly $700 a month in welfare.

And the mayor wants to make people take a drug test so they can get checked.

“In order to get resources from our city, you will need to participate in a substance use disorder program and consistently seek treatment,” Mayor Breed said Tuesday.

“I think everyone is concerned about the number of overdose deaths and everyone is scrambling to find solutions. It’s not a good solution,” said Lydia Bransten, executive director of the Gubbio Project, a nonprofit organization that provides everything from medical services to a place to sleep.

“Stability reduces drug use. Instability increases drug use. Taking away people’s vital money that they use to buy the things they need to survive will increase instability,” she said. declared.

She says they provide a lot of these necessities, but she worries they won’t be able to keep up.

“Anytime you take away someone’s resources, it’s not that their need goes away. It’s just that the resources for those things are gone,” Bransten said.

MORE: SF community nonprofit in Mission District at risk of closing

“Without having programs like this, we could lose a lot of people, people would go back to prison, recidivism rates…it trickles down, you know,” Raybon said.

But the city points to its recent survey, showing that more than half of unhoused people reported having a substance use disorder.

“Some may test clean, some may test dirty. For my part, I can’t give you an answer because I spend days there and no. I spend days there, and I don’t , honestly,” said Denise, who is unhoused.

Raybon said: “I hope people don’t find themselves in a situation where they don’t get the benefits. They need to survive and this would put them in an even worse situation. »

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or other issues, here is a list of local resources.

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