San Francisco Social Services?
December 6, 2011 4:04 PM   Subscribe

About to end up in SF/Oakland needing some help. Most important: a sliding-scale methadone clinic.

I'm about to hightail it from Chicago to the bay area. I will be arriving with very little money, no solid place to stay, and a significant methadone dependency. The last thing is especially problematic because once I start getting sick from withdrawal, figuring out anything else will be much, much harder. I am grudgingly willing to "substitute" (I haven't used any illicit opiates in over a year) but I would like to get hooked up with a good methadone clinic ASAP, preferably one that has a sliding scale and/or other options for indigent/broke people. And of course I will need to sleep somewhere; I'm willing to rough it, and would appreciate tips for doing so in the SF/Oakland area. My minimal experience with shelters is they are worse than any other alternative; if this is not the case in SF, great, and where are the good ones? Any other social services that I should avail myself of would be appreciated as well. [I am a white male in my early thirties with major addiction issues, for which I have been undergoing treatment, with varied success; otherwise I am physically healthy. I am a skilled metalworker and have experience in several other fields and will be looking for work immediately. I know this is a bad idea. In fact, a terrible one. But other options are, or seem, worse. I know I should be rethinking this, talking to a therapist, etc etc, but pretend I won't do any of those things: what then?]
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard this one in SF is good.

Personally, if I were broke I'd much rather be in the bay area than in Chicago, so I can understand why you'd want to go there. Good luck!
posted by mareli at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2011

The Department of Public Health might be able to help out, if you're in San Francisco. Check in with the Treatment Access Program. They might be able to help you out. You can also look at the Provider Manual for Community Behavioral Health Services. There are a number of methadone and other opiate substitution providers listed there.
posted by jasper411 at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2011

The Berkeley Free Clinic doesn't do methadone, but they do have a resources page. This PDF lists some places that are sliding scale.
posted by hoyland at 4:37 PM on December 6, 2011

Also, Berkeley maintains a list of meals/shelters/services there.

They've got a rubbish website, but I've heard decent things about the Tom Waddell Clinic. It looks like they may be able to give you a referral somewhere.
posted by hoyland at 5:02 PM on December 6, 2011

I will come back and add links for these, but for Oakland your best bet by far is the OASIS clinic. They are the best around. For SF, follow jasper411's links and start with TAP.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:03 PM on December 6, 2011

This doesn't help with your primary needs, but immediately you should get on food stamps and GA in San Francisco (GA in the east bay functions like a long term loan, with expectations of repayment). Since you're homeless/uprooted, you can apply for emergency assistance and have aid within three days. In the East Bay the Homeless Action Center can help with navigating bureaucracy, and can serve as a decent resource. Perhaps an analog in SF would be the Tenderloin Hospitality House, which offers counseling, referrals, etc--and has an awesome open art studio for poor/homeless people. There are plenty of meal resources. Food Not Bombs serves free vegetarian meals five days a week in SF and six days a week in the East Bay. Depending on where you'll spend your time, be aware of San Francisco and Berkeley have sit/lie laws that effectively criminalize sitting on the sidewalk if you're poor--so be aware, particularly if you're conspicuously of a different social class than the neighborhood around you.

This is probably not what you need right now, but The Crucible is often hiring blacksmiths and other metalworkers with fine arts backgrounds.
posted by soviet sleepover at 6:06 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

OASIS Clinic in Oakland. Really great people there, including Dr. Silvestri and the United for Drug Policy Reform crew.

San Francisco has far too few resources and beds for homeless people. Oakland's not any better. We do have reasonably decent methadone access here, better than most parts of the country.

San Francisco's shelter system. When it says "easy to reserve a space" do not believe them. It's a pretty fucked up system. It's also the only way to get a shelter bed, pretty much.

SF Coalition on Homelessness. For a less rosy view of the shelter system.

Methadone in SF is best accessed through TAP, as above. You may well end up at San Francisco General Ward 93, or BAART, which is not part of the public health system.

The Bay Area is warmer than Chicago in the winter, so has that going for it. Best of luck with all of this, and memail me if you want. I don't have any direct connections with methadone programs here, but we do have some good ones, as over-regulated programs go.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:25 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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