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San Francisco Ends Homelessness Committee in Less Than One Year

The city’s Board of Supervisors voted to terminate the Homelessness and Behavioral Health Select Committee on Tuesday after deeming it had been an experiment that had “run its course.”

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday terminated a committee centered on the city's homelessness, mental health and addiction treatment efforts less than a year after it was formed.

"Scheduling for the committee was a nightmare," said Supervisor Hillary Ronen, the committee chair. "It really came down to logistics."

The board voted in February to create the Homelessness and Behavioral Health Select Committee, where three supervisors were tasked with vetting city contracts with service providers before any full board vote. The commission was created as the pressure intensified in San Francisco from residents and businesses to make a bigger dent in homelessness and street conditions coming out of the pandemic.

The committee provided its members — Supervisors Ronen, Rafael Mandelman and Shamann Walton — with an opportunity to drill down into the details and alert staff to certain questions or concerns.

But since the committee began meeting in April, a third of its meetings were canceled, according to the city's records.

Board President Aaron Peskin said Tuesday the committee was created as an experiment but had "run its course."

"I think it did what it set out to do, which was to create better policy understanding and collaboration between the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and the Board of Supervisors," Peskin said.

Following Tuesday's vote, the matters assigned to the homelessness committee will be reassigned to other standing bodies, such as the board's budget and government audit committees.

"This is absolutely no indication that these issues are not as important tomorrow as they are today, and it will not impact the amount of work done," Ronen said. "The only thing that will be impacted is the committee where these items are heard."

Despite the termination of the board committee, a separate commission formed of seven individuals appointed by the mayor and Board of Supervisors will continue to oversee the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

That body, known as the Homeless Oversight Committee, was approved by voters in November 2022 following a Chronicle investigation that exposed failures by HSH to tackle the city's most vexing issue.

(c)2023 the San Francisco Chronicle. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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