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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Well, now who do we turn to?

I just had a conversation with Dariush Kayhan of the Department of Homeless Services. You might remember that he was the person from City Hall who was interviewed for the KGO segment last night.

I had asked you all to help continue the attention on this story and contact Mr. Kayhan to see what he was going to do to help resolve this family's story and get them into a safe place.

It seems like you really did pull out the stops and apparently we've really ruined his day today. He was upset with me that I put his phone number and email on the blog. It must be almost as tough to get calls from people worried about a little homeless family than actually being the little homeless family.

But here's the interesting part: even though Mr. Kayhan is the head of the Department of Homeless Services, he tells me that his department doesn't oversee domestic violence shelters. He made a call for K, but outside of that, the shelter is a non-profit (funded in part by the city, perhaps?) and he can't control whether they accept her or not.

Apparently we should be speaking to someone from the Department on the Status of Women. Ahh, who knew?

So in essence, Mr. Kayush been working to help homeless people for many years, but if you're a homeless victim of domestic violence, you need to look to another department for help.

If I'm confused, can you imagine how a homeless mother of three might feel? Who just calls shelters day after day? And so who exactly should have been interviewed on the subject from City Hall?

So, please. Good people, leave Mr. Kayhan alone. He can't really help us.

But that begs the question... is there ANYONE in City Hall who can help? What's going on over there?


Blue Sky Dreaming April 30, 2009 at 5:26 PM  

ooops! I sent an email telling Mr.Kayhan I expected his help...didn't read your email until just now.
I think you are doing a bang up wonderful job and if you give me another department and name, I will put email pressure on if that helps your families case.
Mary Ann

Anonymous April 30, 2009 at 5:40 PM  

So you are beginning to discover the incredible inertia and Byzantine policies at City Hall that impede all efforts to help the poor and dispossessed. It takes total commitment and great stamina to make any progress. Keep at it, and if there is any way that I can assist, please let me know.


I'm Katie. April 30, 2009 at 5:53 PM  

How utterly *&^%ed up. I'll keep an eye on your blog, ready to spring at anyone who you may unearth as potentially helpful.

P.S. I work in a fair-sized company and we can get absolutely ANYTHING done, usually within 8 business hours. It just takes a little effort, some research, and some phone calls.

Really, this is *&^%ed up.

Char April 30, 2009 at 6:00 PM  

heaven forbid someone volunteer information

d smith kaich jones April 30, 2009 at 6:23 PM  

Well, but this is the government we're speaking of. As Just.Kate says, the company she works for can actually do stuff. That's because they've figured out, long ago, that in order to turn a profit, they needed to know how to do stuff. Not so the government. It's not their money they deal with, so they don't care what's done with it, they don't have to perform efficiently because there is no price to pay for not doing so. It's the government. And I'm sorry to get political here, but it's the reason I don't want these people in charge of my health care, it's the reason I want them to leave me alone as much as possible. This is an illustration of snafu. With people's lives on the line. It just SUCKS!

Good luck, sweetie. We are in your corner.

Anonymous April 30, 2009 at 6:26 PM  

another call to community, even in such a big city. at least we have each other. this blog is a great resource for reaching out. God Bless you.

Nancy Ewart April 30, 2009 at 6:36 PM  

Try calling Chris Daly's office - he makes a big deal about how he's on the side of the homeless and the disenfranchised. Let him put his money where his mouth is. He's our supervisor and he's certainly done nothing for our neighborhood but a homeless mom with three kids should be something he could help you with. And yes - our neighborhood tried to stop some of the pot clubs/sex clubs and after hours clubs in our neighborhood and has struggled for years with the do-nothings in City Hall. Useless!

will April 30, 2009 at 6:36 PM  

You now have media contacts ... use those.

Government is composed of thousands of doors - most often it's a hunt and peck thing to find the right one.

Generally speaking bureaucrats and the elected don't trust dealing with a single person - they are wary of the wikd card business.

They do respond to organized groups and will respond even more to those that offer options and potential solutions. But the raw request for action generally doesn't produce that much.

The media can be a hammer - if there is sufficient public numbers behind the pressure.

I know from experience that being angry, or pissed or ranting at them or calling them names does in fact produce negative results.

All in all it was a long shot hoping for quick results.

Perhaps talking with those that manage women's groups and women's shelters can be an information source.

When dealing with cash strapped governments be prepared for the long haul. Being in need and being right usually isn't enough.

Elyse April 30, 2009 at 7:04 PM  

I just found your blog/this amazing story, and was wondering...what else does this family need? I've been jobless for a while now, so my funds are dwindling, but is there anything else I can do?

You are so veryvery wonderful for sharing this story...!

kathwins April 30, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

Domestic Violence is often treated as a separate issue from homelessness because of the trauma involved and because homeless shelters locations are often publicly known, which can be a risk for women and children fleeing an abusive partner.

If people want someone else to contact, the website for Department on Status of Women: http://www.sfgov.org/site/dosw

Folks may want to contact staff there but I imagine that their influence may be limited in these economic times (they are among the many city agencies getting budget cuts)

It may be useful to put out the word with providers as well : La Casa de Las Madres, Mary Elizabeth Inn, Riley Center, W.O.M.A.N Inc.

I'm sure they are full to capacity, but having someone kindly advocate for this family in need may help unearth other resources ..

shabby girl April 30, 2009 at 7:24 PM  

Hmm. In the tv spot, he totally seemed to be "the guy" that would take care of this...not so much huh?
Boy, did he get some great PR or what?

Kelly Kilmer April 30, 2009 at 7:35 PM  

Off to bang my head against the wall and typical b.s bureaucracy!

J9 April 30, 2009 at 8:18 PM  

I was wondering if the 7 on your side guyu could help on this? Michael Finney? doesn't he represent the downtrodden to companies? would he be willing to go to bat on this with city hall?

Also, have a friend who's cousin worked for Willie Brown, so I'm digging there for a contact inside that can actually help.

julochka April 30, 2009 at 11:00 PM  

let me get this straight...

1. the man allowed himself to be interviewed on television as if he were the person who could do something about it. so what's up with the change in story now?

2. we have her a public official who doesn't want his contact details to be available to the public.

hmmm. something's rotten in the state of san francisco. i think you need a celebrity intervention...maybe brangelina? they love kids...

Cartooncharacter May 1, 2009 at 1:04 AM  

I tried calling Mr. Kayhan's office earlier today & instead received an automated message that the number was out of service... I guess they were so bothered by people calling they shut it down. That's how the government deals with angry constituents.

I'll call the number listed for the Dept on the Status of Women tomorrow and see if I can get to talk to someone helpful.

Sarah May 1, 2009 at 11:26 AM  

How awful! You are doing the right thing by trying to shed light on this situation.... Something just MUST be done to help the abused.

The San Francisco city hall should be taking notice. I'm awfully ashamed for them. Certainly they have a better grip on the pulse of their city????


Liz May 5, 2009 at 11:46 AM  

That's disgusting! He passed the buck because she's female, and then took his number out of service?

That's gender discrimination and I think once K. is settled we might think about filing a federal DOJ discrimination complaint against the City of San Francisco.

I feel sure this happens every day. But no one steps up to change it.