Renames a city department, its commission and an associated fund, and makes changes to requirements for who can be appointed to the commission.
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What the Measure Would Do
This measure would amend the city charter to make several changes to what is currently the Department of Aging and Adult Services. The measure would:
- Change the name of the Department of Aging and Adult Services to the Department of Disability and Aging Services.
- Change the name of the Aging and Adult Services Community Living Fund to the Disability and Aging Services Community Living Fund.
- Change the name of the Aging and Adult Services Commission to the Disability and Aging Services Commission.
Additionally, the measure would make changes to the requirements for appointed commissioners. One of the commissioners would be required to be over 60 years old. One of the commissioners would be required to be over 18 years old and have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Finally, one of the commissioners would be required to be a veteran.
The measure includes language directing the city attorney to make any additional conforming amendments to the municipal code where the titles “Department of Aging and Adult Services,” “Aging and Adult Services Community Living Fund” and “Aging and Adult Services Commission” occur, to align with changes made to the charter.
The Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) was established in 2000 under Mayor Willie Brown and combined the Commission on Aging, Adult Protective Services, In Home Supportive Services, the County Veterans’ Services office and several other programs under one roof. Since then, DAAS has been the primary city agency providing support to both older adults and adults with disabilities, through senior centers, in-home care, case management, legal assistance, transportation and other services. The department estimates that adults over the age of 60 make up 23% of San Francisco’s population, while one in 10 adults reports living with a disability. The department’s $370 million budget is supported by a number of sources, including the city’s General Fund, the Community Living Fund and the Dignity Fund. Under the city charter, the Aging and Adult Services Commission provides oversight of the department and guidance on policies and funding decisions. Currently, all seven members of the commission are appointed by the mayor. While older adults are well represented, department staff members report that adults with disabilities have not served on the commission for many years.
In 2016, San Francisco voters approved Prop. I to establish the Dignity Fund, a fund dedicated to services for seniors, veterans, adults with disabilities and adults living with chronic and life-threatening health conditions. The measure required a recurring, four-year planning process by DAAS to determine how funding would be used, beginning with a Community Needs Assessment in 2018. One finding from the needs assessment was that adults with disabilities reported having challenges accessing services, in large part because the title of the department does not call out adults with disabilities as a population served.1 Department staff and advocates determined that changing the name of the department, commission and fund could encourage greater participation from the community of adults with disabilities.
Because the department’s title appears in the city charter — both in the section that created the DAAS commission and in the section that created the Dignity Fund — a charter amendment is required to make this change.
This measure was put on the ballot by Board President Norman Yee and Mayor London Breed and co-sponsored by Supervisors Matt Haney, Sandra Fewer, Gordon Mar and Shamann Walton. As a charter amendment, it requires a simple majority to pass.
- This measure is driven by a data-informed process; making this change would likely improve the delivery of services to disabled adults.
- The commissioner requirements would help ensure that a range of lived experiences and communities are represented in decision-making for the department.
- SPUR could not identify any downsides to this measure.
While we’re not generally fans of amendments to the city charter, Prop. B is a worthy one. It provides common-sense changes that would help the Department of Aging and Adult Services better serve its constituents.
1 Dignity Fund Community Needs Assessment, 2018, p. 15, https://www.sfhsa.org/about/reports-publications/older-adults-and-people-disabilities/2018-dignity-fund-community-needs