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Finding Aid to the San Francisco Human Services Agency Records, 1919-2016 (bulk 1937-2000), SFH 743
SFH 743  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Separated Materials
  • Related Materials
  • Processing Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Organization
  • Arrangement

  • Title: San Francisco Human Services Agency Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1919-2016
    Date (bulk): 1937-2000
    Identifier/Call Number: SFH 743
    Creator: San Francisco (Calif.). Department of Human Services.
    Creator: San Francisco (Calif.). Human Services Agency.
    Physical Description: 57 cartons, 1 pamphlet box, 1 oversized flat box (57.75 cubic feet)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4562
    sfhistory@sfpl.org
    Abstract: This collection documents the San Francisco Human Services Agency's history through materials prepared for the Human Services Commission. Included are commission agendas and minutes, correspondence, memoranda, reports, and budgets.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored off site and requires a minimum of 2 working days' advance notice for use.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.

    Access

    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours. Collections that are stored off site should be requested 48 hours in advance. The San Francisco Human Services Agency requires researchers agree in writing to not disclose in any form the personally identifying information of HSA clients.

    Publication Rights

    Researchers must agree in writing to not disclose in any form the personally identifying information of HSA clients. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Additionally, the San Francisco Human Services Agency requires researchers who publish findings based on this collection include the following: "The archives of the San Francisco Human Services Agency have been made available for the purpose of historical research. The views contained in this publication represent the conclusions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the San Francisco Human Services Agency nor the City and County of San Francisco."

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], San Francisco Human Services Agency Records (SFH 743), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

    Provenance

    Transferred to the San Francisco Public Library from the San Francisco Human Services Agency in August of 2023.

    Separated Materials

    Annual Reports of the Department of Social Services for 1969-1970, 1981-1982, and 1992-1993 were added to the library's catalog.

    Related Materials

    Researchers are encouraged to consult the San Francisco Public Library's catalog for additional materials related to the San Francisco Human Services Agency. The organization's annual reports and other materials can be found using HSA's historical names: Widows' Pension Bureau, County Welfare Department, Public Welfare Department, Department of Social Services, Department of Human Services, and Human Services Agency. Cataloged records of programs and departments include Family and Children's Services, Department of Aging and Adult Services, County Adult Assistance Program, and In-Home Supportive Services. Researchers can find additional records for the Citizens' Emergency Relief Committee in another archival collection: San Francisco Office of the Controller Unemployment Relief Program Minutes and Reports (SFH 67).

    Processing Information

    Processed by intern Daniel Kelly in 2023.

    Historical Note

    The San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) began in 1913 as the Widows' Pension Bureau, providing cash assistance to widowed mothers. Over the decades, the agency added programs, merged with other city departments, and changed its name several times. During the Great Depression, the City and County of San Francisco formed the Citizen's Emergency Relief Committee to distribute state funds for unemployed persons. When the 1935 Social Security Act passed, federalizing most welfare programs, the Emergency Relief Committee and the County Welfare Department merged. A commission was formed to oversee the new department. The organization has been known as the Widows' Pension Bureau (1913-1929), County Welfare Department (1930-1936), Public Welfare Department (1937-1965), the Department of Social Services (1965-1985), the Department of Human Services (1985-2004), and the Human Services Agency (2004 to present). In 2004 the Department of Human Services merged with the Department of Aging and Adult Services.
    Throughout its life, HSA has added programs and services to meet the changing needs of low-income and vulnerable San Franciscans. For example, during WWII it provided childcare assistance to mothers working in the shipyards, and it helped with the resettlement of war refugees. In 1947 it assumed responsibility for child welfare services including foster care. In the 1950s, the agency launched the In-Home Supportive Services program, providing attendant care to thousands of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.
    When the federal Medicaid health insurance program was created in 1965, the department began managing enrollment for the state's version of the program, Medi-Cal. In 1977 HSA began administering the federal food stamp program. It has long overseen the General Assistance program for indigent single adults, and until 2016 it was the primary city department providing shelter and housing assistance to homeless persons.
    The Widows' Pension Bureau of a century ago is today's CalWORKs program, offering not only cash benefits but also childcare and employment assistance to low-income families. Starting in the 1980s, the agency relied increasingly on partnerships with nonprofit agencies, eventually overseeing more than 200 contracts. As of 2023, HSA was providing support to almost one in three San Franciscans.
    Additional information about the agency's history can be found in a 2016 newsletter contained in the Statistics, Reports, and Newsletters series.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection documents the history of the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA), largely through materials prepared for the Human Services Commission. While there are budgets from the agency's early years and a few materials from the Citizens' Emergency Committee, the bulk of the collection consists of commission records between 1937 and 2000. Included are agendas and minutes from monthly commission meetings, as well as the memoranda, reports, budgets, and correspondence submitted as background materials to the commissioners.
    Major subject areas include poverty, homelessness, families, children, seniors, disabilities, refugees, foster care, and childcare. Major programs include food stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, General Assistance, child welfare, and employment assistance.

    Organization

    Organized into six series: Series 1: Widows' Pension Bureau Budgets; Series 2: County Welfare Department Budgets; Series 3: Commission Correspondence; Series 4: Commission Minutes; Series 5: Statistics, Reports, and Newsletters; and Series 6: Advisory Committees.

    Arrangement

    Arranged chronologically within series.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    At-risk youth -- Services for -- California -- San Francisco.
    Homeless families -- Services for -- California -- San Francisco.
    Homeless persons -- Services for -- California -- San Francisco.
    Occupational training -- California -- San Francisco.
    People with disabilities -- Services for -- California -- San Francisco.
    Public welfare -- California -- San Francisco -- Statistics.
    Social Service -- California -- San Francisco.
    San Francisco (Calif.). Department of Human Services. -- Archives.
    San Francisco (Calif.). Human Services Agency. -- Archives.