Increased funding for Asian crime victims proposed by SF mayor

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By Jason Leong via Unsplash

Mayor London Breed of San Francisco is proposing to increase the funding of services to Asian crime victims who are limited in their English proficiency by $500,000, a total her critics say is not enough.

According to CBS News, Breed said victims need mental health support while seeking justice in terms of arrest and accountability from the perpetrators, which can be difficult for those who do not speak English fluently or proficiently.

“I’m so disappointed to see after all the anti-Asian attacks that the AAPI community has been through during this pandemic, including the tragic death of Mr. Vicha Ratanapakdee, a Thai American, that the only investment that our community received is just Cantonese-speaking victim services,” Supervisor Connie Chan told The Standard. “We are not a monolithic community, we have diverse linguistic and cultural needs.”

The money for the investment under Breed’s proposal would be split into three categories of services. One category for nearly half of the investment would be dedicated to trauma recovery clinical services in Cantonese as well as training and technical assistance for community-based providers.

About $160,000 would be allotted in the proposal to expand community-based mental health services in Cantonese. Aiding Asian senior citizens with mental health support as part of their recovery would be the goal.

Another $59,000 will go to senior escort services citywide in San Francisco to help disabled people get to medical appointments and increase social interaction. 

“Without language and culture, it’s almost impossible to connect with somebody who is in distress,” said Christina Shea, deputy chief and director of clinical services at Richmond Area Multi-Services. “If you cannot communicate with a victim of a crime, you cannot even begin to support and understand where they are at.”

Shea said this new funding would allow them to hire clinical staff who can provide linguistically and culturally relevant counseling. 

However, Chan is pushing for a multimillion-dollar fund from the city’s reserve to help AAPI projects to acquire property and assist with construction projects. A week earlier, the AAPI Council had urged Breed to budget $118 million for dozens of community group.s

Breed, who has been mayor since 2018, has invested in several other victim services in the city, including creating a Community Liaison Unit within the San Francisco Police Department to ensure cultural and linguistic competency and investing $3.2 million in wraparound victim services for the Asian and Pacific Islander community, said CBS News.

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