Teens saw dead bodies from their backyard and feared another tragedy – The San Francisco Standard | NutSocia


The family of two teenagers who discovered the body of a drug rehabilitation patient in their backyard two years ago fear the reopening of the scandalized facility will bring more tragedy to their doorstep.

Olga Tikhonova, a mother of two who lives next door to a building owned by the nonprofit Baker Places, told The Standard that her daughter, then 14, called her crying after staff at the nonprofit entered her family’s home. to search for a client who committed suicide in February 2021.

Although Tikhonova was not home, her teenage son Ivan Severinov led Baker Places staff through the house and onto the backyard balcony, where he and his 14-year-old sister Vera Severinova saw the lifeless body of a woman lying on the wooden deck below in the backyard of Baker Places.

“She lay there for a good two hours before they finally picked her up,” said Vera.

The backyard area of ​​the Severinova family home, where two years ago Vera Severinova, along with employees of the San Francisco nonprofit Baker Places, discovered a woman who had died by suicide in the backyard of the program’s facility. | Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard

Tikhonova said the traumatic incident was the culmination of years of troubles with the nonprofit neighbor, which has come under intense public scrutiny in recent months as ongoing financial mismanagement came to light.

Neighbors at the rehab facility are now preparing for its reopening, which is imminent, as neighbors reported Comcast employees serviced the home on Monday.

“Nobody has ever contacted us from Baker Places about this,” Tikhonova said. “No apologies, nothing.”

When the Grove Street House was last open in 2021, neighbors said customers masturbated loudly while staring in neighbors’ windows, construction work on the building swept asbestos onto their property and stray cigarette ash started fires. The facility closed in March 2021 for renovations and to resolve neighborhood grievances through a corrective action plan.

In a statement, the Department of Health said Baker Places is in the process of fulfilling a corrective action plan at Grove Street that includes replacing windows, removing asbestos and de-escalating customers amid the crisis.

“The employee reported that she thought the client’s body ended up in the neighbor’s backyard,” according to a health department corrective action plan. “Hopefully this situation doesn’t happen again.”

Vera Severinova (left) and Olga Tikhonova look out from the balcony of their family home in San Francisco on Thursday, January 12, 2023. About two years earlier, Vera, along with employees of the non-profit organization Baker Places, discovered a Baker Places customer who had died in the face of the Severinova family home. | Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard

Some clients of the nonprofit programs have told The Standard that they haven’t seen their case managers for months as they battle suicidal thoughts, volatile roommates and rampant drug activity. The Standard confirmed four fatal drug overdoses at the nonprofit’s other facilities in the past two years, in addition to the suicide in February 2021.

In January 2020, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development gave Baker Places $3.9 million — or $437,778 per bed — to purchase and refurbish the troubled Grove Street building after the nonprofit sold the property rented for over 40 years.

In a statement, the mayor’s housing department said it is awaiting guidance from the Controller’s Office to ensure the city’s nonprofit partners are in good standing, and referred questions about oversight to the health department.

In November, a group of 50 neighbors signed a petition urging the city to permanently close the facility in light of the nonprofit’s recently publicized fiscal mismanagement. Neighbors say the program ended abruptly in March 2021, leaving the post office on the doorstep and old furniture on the sidewalk.

Despite being red flagged by city officials, PRC and Baker Places will receive $59 million from the city this fiscal year, a city database shows.

Tikhonova said that apart from a visit from the program leader a few months ago, she’s not sure how the program will regain lost trust in the community.

“How will it be different from what we experienced two years ago?” Tikhonova said.


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