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San Francisco plans mental health center near new downtown Ikea

San Francisco is filing plans for a new mental health center at 1019 Market St. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

The city filed an application to purchase a building on Market Street to use as a mental health center for people who are homeless and uninsured. 

The center, located at 1019 Market St., is still early in the application process but, if approved, would replace a chai bar that now occupies the bottom floor of the building.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health declined to provide further details on potential services offered at the center, saying negotiations are still ongoing. However, an application by the San Francisco Real Estate Division states the facility would include a pharmacy and “transportation.” It’s unclear from the application what’s meant by transportation. 

Bicyclists pass the site of the proposed mental health center, which is just down the street from the new Ikea. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

United Nations Plaza, which lies two blocks away from the proposed facility, has seen the most overdose calls in the city for five years straight, and the area often finds itself at the center of the city’s debates around drug addiction, homelessness and mental illness. A historic number of people have died of overdoses this year, with 473 people losing their lives to drugs in the first seven months of this year, according to preliminary data from the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office. 

The city has struggled to meet the needs of people with addiction and mental illness while also appealing to people who live in the Downtown core, which is home to most of the city’s social services. 

The planned facility would operate one block away from a new Ikea, which some in the neighborhood hope can help revitalize the area. City officials have also touted other initiatives, such as a proposed outdoor skate park and a recent carnival, as ways to bring new life to the struggling city core. 

The proposed mental health center is located at 1019 Market St. in San Francisco, not far from United Nations Plaza. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

David Sjostedt can be reached at

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