Originally published in Street Sheet.
SoMa RISE is an innovative program that will provide low barrier services to people who use drugs in and around the SoMa and Tenderloin areas, with a particular focus on individuals who are marginally housed or are experiencing homelessness, starting this winter. The SoMa RISE Center at 1076 Howard St. will welcome people under the influence of drugs into a safe, indoor setting. We will provide a space for people in crisis to stabilize and get connected to care, services, and housing. HealthRIGHT 360, in partnership with Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Department of Public Health, will be operating SoMa RISE in a manner that treats all participants with compassion, dignity and respect.
SoMa RISE (Recover, Initiate, Support and Engage) was the top recommendation of the Methamphetamine Task Force report two years ago and is in alignment with Mental Health SF. Mental Health SF is a comprehensive plan passed by the SF Board of Supervisors to address mental health and substance use disorder challenges throughout the city. The plan focuses on serving unhoused people with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorder and prioritizes getting people off the streets and into care. Opening a drug crisis response center was the number one recommendation of San Francisco’s 2019 Methamphetamine Task Force and SoMa RISE will be part of San Francisco’s system of the care continuum.
This program will be staffed with EMTs, a wellness team including health workers, site support staff, and safety monitors. The program will operate a 24-hour, welcoming, compassionate, trauma-informed, culturally attuned, space that is responsive to participants’ individual needs and focuses on the principles of harm reduction. SoMa RISE will be run in a way that ensures that staff creates a human connection with clients and that connection is without judgement. By acting in this manner, it allows clients to participate incrementally in their own recovery at a level they find comfortable. All staff from janitorial workers to EMT’s undergo rigorous training before they start working at SoMa RISE in order to meet these goals. This includes training on radical hospitality, how to practice client centered care, information on trauma informed systems, harm reduction, and anti-stigmatizing language. Alongside providing a safe, comfortable space for clients, our emphasis is on supporting people at increased risk of substance use-related high-risk behaviors and trauma, homelessness, and death due to overdose. Priority will be given to clients’ safety, and all staff will be trained in OD prevention, recognition, response and Narcan administration.
SoMa RISE will also offer options such as: hot showers, clean bathrooms, beds, laundry, snacks and hydrating drinks, Counselors to support clients with service needs, and transportation to other organizations and service providers.
This sobering center will be open for Self-Referral/Walk-ins if we have sufficient capacity, and does not require sobriety for entry. Referrals will also be made from SCRT, EMS6, and SF HOT. Program participants must be 18 and over adults who are under the influence of substances and need short-term care and support.
We want the community to Understand what we can and cannot do at SoMa RISE. SoMa RISE is not a shelter, medical facility, withdrawal management program, psychiatric facility, or a substance use treatment program. SoMa RISE is also not a Safe Consumption Site for people who use drugs. SoMa RISE is a low barrier entry point to the system of care, able to provide short term support, and offer basic services. SoMa RISE serves as a bridge, providing linkages to a host of other services that our participants would like to be connected to. More information about this program can be found at https://sf.gov/soma-rise-center.