Tuesday, December 16, 2008

County Adult Assistance Programs

Anybody in the San Francisco area who has an interruption of income should immediately apply for CAAP – the County Adult Assistance Program. CAAP consists of four programs: General Assistance, (GA), PAES, SSIP, and CALM. The choice of program is directed by the needs of the individual. Those needing shelter will be entered into the CHANGES system. Anyone in CAAP is also required to apply for Food Stamps. This is done at the CAAP office. CAAP provides shelter or assistance in paying rent. It also provides a small biweekly cash benefit.  
 Application for CAAP is made at the following address:
  County Adult Assistance Program 558-1000
  1235 Mission Street
  San Francisco, CA 94103

 To begin the application process, go to this address at 8am any weekday morning. Fill out the application form for both CAAP and Food Stamps, then take it to Window A. They will verify the application forms then will set up an initial intake appointment, usually set for 7:30am two days later.  

 Under CAAP there are four separate, independent programs to better meet the needs of adult residents in San Francisco.  

 PAES The Personal Assisted Employment Services program provides employable adults with the education, training, and supportive services necessary to gain lasting employment and become self sufficient. Individuals with a verified disabling condition which is expected to last less than 12 consecutive months in duration are also eligible for PAES; however, they are exempt from participation in employment-related activities and services until such time as their temporary disabling condition has improved. PAES participants may also be exempted from employment-related activities on the basis of age. Individuals with disabilities, including those who are eligible for the SSIP program may choose to participate in PAES.  

  The monthly maximum benefit package for a single individual participating in PAES is valued at up to $422. For a homeless individual, the benefit package may include housing, shelter, food, utilities and a cash benefit.

  PAES applicants must have lived in San Francisco for 30 continuous days prior to the time of application. The introductory Appraisal Period begins when the applicant signs a PAES Participant Agreement. Work Experience activities during the Appraisal Period are 12 weekly, 3.5 hour Group Employment Preparation sessions, and up to 8 hours per week (depending on the grant amount) of Work Assignment or an acceptable, qualifying, substitute (employment, approved Vocational Training, ESL, G.E.D. preparation, Job Search because of a medical restriction, etc.) Participants may be excused from GEP if they are engaged in an approved activity and there is either a verified conflict in schedule or the other activity requires more than 16.5 hours per week. All PAES participants performing employment-related activities receive a monthly Muni Fast Pass or tokens.  

  Individuals who have successfully completed the Appraisal Period are assigned to an Employment Specialist to develop an Employment Plan as openings become available. The work assignment (or qualifying substitute) continues until the Plan is signed. The individualized, mutually-agreed-upon Employment Plan may include:

  • Job training and career counseling
  • Supervised Job Search
  • G.E.D. preparation & vocational English as a Second Language (VESL) classes
  • Vocational Training courses and Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Skills-building workshops for those able to work in a supported setting
  • Various Employment Projects, combining temporary paid employment with job-seeking services.
  • Substance abuse and mental health treatment
  • Housing search activities for homeless individuals
  Supportive services available to PAES participants in Employment Plans include psychological and vocational assessment, substance abuse and mental health counselors on-site, vocational rehabilitation counseling, ancillary expenses for clothing, tools, supplies, etc., a housing subsidy, and Muni Fast Passes or tokens. PAES employment services are limited to 27 months, with a possible extension of 6 months, if such additional services are likely to lead to employment. The PAES stipend may continue beyond that time for individuals who fail to find employment through no fault of their own. For individuals who become employed, PAES Retention Services are available even if they’re no longer eligible for the PAES stipend. There is a 60-day sanction for eligibility-related failures and a 90-day sanction for Employment Plan-related failures. Participants may grieve at any stage in the Employment Plan process. Employment Plan failures may be redressed in a 30-day Conciliation Process.

 CALM Cash Assistance Linked to Medi-Cal is for individuals who are receiving Medi-Cal benefits because they are either aged or disabled, but do not currently qualify for SSI, and their spouses. Such individuals may also volunteer to participate in PAES. The monthly maximum benefit package for a single individual participating in CALM is valued up to $422. For a homeless individual, the benefit package may include housing, shelter, food, utilities and a cash benefit. There are no Sanction penalties for non-cooperation (except for fraud). One worker at 1440 Harrison Street provides both Medi-Cal benefits and cash assistance; Food Stamps workers are also available at the same location.

 SSIP Supplemental Security Income Pending is for individuals who have medical verification that they have a disability which either has lasted, or is likely to last, at least 12 consecutive months. SSI Advocacy is available through referral to the Community Health Network of the Department of Public Health. The monthly maximum benefit package for a single individual participating in SSIP is valued up to $422. For a homeless individual, the benefit package may include housing, shelter, food, utilities and a cash benefit. Muni tokens for verified medical appointments are also provided. There are no Sanction penalties for non-cooperation (except for fraud). SSIP eligibles may choose to participate in PAES instead of SSIP. Continuing SSIP cases are handled by a specialized unit.

 GA General Assistance remains the County safety net program for indigent adults. It is designed for individuals who do not qualify for CALM and SSIP, and who either do not choose to participate in PAES or are serving a sanction from the PAES program. The monthly maximum benefit package for a single individual participating in GA is valued up to $342. For a homeless individual, the benefit package may include housing, shelter, food, utilities and a cash benefit. In exchange for the GA benefit package, able-bodied GA recipients are expected to perform Workfare for up to 8 hours per week (depending on the grant amount) or an acceptable substitute. GA recipients performing Workfare receive a Muni Fast Pass or tokens. Program requirement failures without Good Cause may result in a 30-day sanction. If the GA recipient’s housing costs are more than the GA maximum aid payment, he or she may request a Supplemental Rent Payment. The GA aid package including the Supplemental Rent Payment may not exceed $345, and it made payable as a 2-party check to the landlord and the recipient.

 HOMEWARD BOUND - this is the program that will give you a one-way bus ticket home.  
  Apply at the CAAP office. You will need to show proof that someone will meet you
  and give you a place to stay when you arrive at your destination.


 Application for food stamps may be made at the CAAP office at 1235 Mission. You will need to bring identification and proof of address, proof of income, documentation of bank accounts, etc. Maximum benefits for an individual are $154 per month. Most individuals will receive less than this amount.


 CAAP may help you to get your California Identification Card. If so, they will issue you a check written to DMV, and you will take it to:

  Department of Motor Vehicles  
  1377 Fell Street
  San Francisco, CA
  (415) 557-1170

 CAAP may help you to obtain your birth certificate if you have no other form of primary identification.

 To get a Social Security card, call 1-800-772-1213 and follow their instructions. First time applicants require birth certificate and 1 piece of identification. 

  Chinatown 560 Kearny Street
  Hunter’s Point 3801 Third Street
  Mission District 1098 Valencia (at 22nd St)
  Parkside 1569 Sloat Blvd #300
  Western Addition 1405 Fillmore Street
  Downtown Federal bldg at 7th and Mission

 Passport office (415) 538-2700 Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  US Passport Office
  95 Hawthorne Street, 5th floor
  San Francisco, CA 94105-3901

 Work Permit (under 18 years old) Hours: 8:00-11:00 AM, 1:00-4:30 PM
  San Francisco School District, Pupil Services
  555 Portola (Bung. 1)

  San Francisco, CA 94131


Saturday, December 13, 2008

San Francisco Helps website

The 2008 Resource guide is available now for download.

Click here to download your copy today!

Chapter 1 - County Adult Assistance Programs
Chapter 2 - Daily meals
Chapter 3 - Groceries and Free Food Pantries
Chapter 4 - Shelter and Housing
Chapter 5 - Health Care
Chapter 6 - Substance abuse treatment
Chapter 7 - Hygiene Services
Chapter 8 - Employment
Chapter 9 - Legal resources
Chapter 10 – In case of emergency
Chapter 11 - Misc. Telephone Number Index
Inside Back Cover - Daily Meals Chart


Sunday, December 30, 2007

San Francisco Helps! Resource Guide for 2008

San Francisco is the crown jewel of United States cities. To many it is the land of opportunity. There is more money here in a small area than in most other areas of the country. Success can be found by those with skills and the drive to work hard. As cities go, it is one of the cleanest and best organized. The taxpayers care about their fellow citizens, and are willing to show this with their pocketbooks. Even so, there is a side of San Francisco that demands ever more attention: the plight of the desperately poor. Anyone who spends time here has encountered them, begging for money on the streets. A large proportion of these people are homeless.

Homelessness presents many challenges to any city. San Francisco has one of the largest homeless populations per capita of all the cities in the United States. On any given night there are somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 homeless people sleeping on the streets and in parks. These people need to eat, they need health care, and they need a way out. There are programs to lessen the desparate conditions in which they live. Most of these programs are designed to help them survive on a daily basis. There are very few programs designed to lift people out of poverty, so they are left to themselves to figure out solutions that will work. Meanwhile, they need to find ways to eat, bathe, use the restroom, and to find meaning in their lives.

The daily needs are too great for any one organization to meet, including the city government. Fortunately, San Francisco is home to many organizations and individuals who want to make a positive difference. It has become the preeminent city in the nation in terms of the help available for people caught in the cycle of poverty and homelessness. The leadership of this city has had the foresight to institute government programs to help. Private organizations, primarily churches, provide help to the homeless. There is no place in the country that does more to provide opportunities for people to gain access to resources they need to survive, and to provide opportunities for homeless individuals to climb out of the cycle of despair. Hundreds and thousands of people work together here to prevent homelessness from becoming hopelessness.

Homelessness is extremely expensive to the others in the community. By spending time and by providing funding for an organized provision of services and resources, that cost can be reduced. For instance, to incarcerate a person because of a quality-of-life crime such as sleeping on a sidewalk costs $2,500 per month just for the housing cost alone. By comparison, subsidized rent in an SRO hotel is under $500 per month. By taking a proactive approach to housing it immediately saves more than four times the cost.

Many point to the problem of substance abuse. National studies have shown clearly that most homelessness is not caused by drug and alcohol abuse. However, due to the prevalence of illegal substances on the street and the cost associated with the use of these substances, it becomes a barrier to the individual who desires to climb out of homelessness. It is important to recognize that homelessness is primarily an economic problem. But it is a problem which develops many debilitating symptoms which make it very difficult for those afflicted to improve their lives. Prevention is much less expensive than remediation.

The economic realities of life in the city are such that national studies have shown repeatedly that there is no place in the country where individuals working at minimum wage can afford even a one-room apartment. It is also easily shown that raising the minimum wage simply results in fewer workers being hired, all else being equal. Subsidized housing raises the taxes of working families. With so many people working at minimum wage, it does not take much of a disruption to push them into a situation where they may be potentially homeless. There is no simple solution.

Homeless families present a particular problem because there are many fewer shelters available for families. Fortunately, the Coalition on Homelessness is focusing specifically on this aspect of the problem, as is The National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Besides the county and state governments, local churches are on the front lines in providing services and resources to the homeless community. This booklet is being produced in order to better help coordinate their efforts. Our desire is that every point of contact with any of these organizations should be capable of leading homeless individuals to all the services available. We are providing this guide to service providers so they can have knowledge outside of their primary expertise. It is clear that many people want to help, so we want them to have confidence that they are able to do so.

Poverty can be beaten, but it requires diligent efforts by everyone involved. Primarily, each homeless person is responsible for themselves. Secondarily, churches and other organizations have a responsibility to utilize their resources in an efficient manner, providing their specific help in a way that affects the maximum number of people in the best possible way. Each organization can determine their best role as determined by their capabilities. Leadership comes at all levels, from the Mayor who helps fund various organizations, to the local pastor deciding how much of the church's funding to put to work for the poor, to the person metering out the amount of food on each plate in a soup line.

If everyone can share the dual vision of helping ease the daily lives of people and helping them lift themselves out of poverty, it will impact our community in a positive way. Charities and volunteers are in the unique position of being able to make San Francisco the best example in the country of how caring people can affect a whole population.

Hopefully this guide will make a difference by providing a one-stop-source for the overall picture, enabling every point of contact to operate with as much knowledge of the whole range of available resources and services as possible. As you encounter people, they will usually be concerned about day-to-day worries such as food and clothing. What you can offer them is a way out.

This booklet contains very specific information such as addresses, days of the week, and times of day. This information does change over time. It will be revised on a quarterly basis.

The web site will be kept current. Service providers are invited to utilize the web site when giving counseling and guidance to poor or homeless individuals.

San Francisco Helps! is a small group of volunteers who are dedicated to helping the poor in San Francisco. Please partner with us by helping us to be aware of any changes to the information contained here. Those changes can be submitted via email to SanFranciscoHelps@gmail.com

Together, we can make a real difference. It is clear that better than any city in the country,
San Francisco Helps! Thank you for being a part of this effort.

–S.D. Dennis