SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Supervisor Matt Haney on Tuesday proposed that the city of San Francisco immediately begin searching for a new county veterans service officer, tasked with overseeing the needs of the city’s veterans, many of whom have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.

During a news conference with the city’s Veterans Affairs Commission, Haney said he plans on introducing a resolution that would require the city to begin the process of hiring a county veterans service officer.

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According to Haney, although the position has gone empty for more than a year, now is the time to begin providing assistance to the city’s 27,000 veterans, many of whom are currently homeless, living on the streets of the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.

Under the resolution, the city would first be required to hire an interim county veterans service officer, before conducting a national search for a permanent officer. Additionally, the city would be tasked with coming up with a plan to assist vulnerable veterans during the coronavirus pandemic, including providing wraparound services and outreach for veterans, housed or unhoused.

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“The resolution will coincide with a hearing to hear what we’re doing for veterans, to hear from veterans themselves, and to ensure that they are fully supported and protected during this crisis,” Haney said.

“The patchwork of services provided by the VA (Veteran’s Affairs), the medical service providers, and the nonprofit service providers during the declared state of emergency is lacking coordination and collaboration to take care of this vulnerable group,” Veterans Affairs Commission President Victor Olivieri said. “Supervisor Haney is right on the mark when he says we need a dedicated liaison to coordinate response efforts between the city and county of San Francisco and the Emergency Operations Center, but also coordination between the federal and state-level agencies, the nonprofits, the veteran organizations, the staff and volunteers who want to help.

“We need a voice when budgets in the city are being scrutinized in a pandemic, in an economic crisis,” he said. “We need someone who is going to be a visionary leader and who is going to really take the lives of some 27,000 veterans who live in San Francisco as part of this community, and take it as their main priority.”

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Haney plans on introducing the resolution during next week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, as well as holding a hearing that will take place on a future date.