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Kelly Dearman to Lead the HSA Department of Disability and Aging Services

News Release

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced Kelly Dearman will serve as Executive Director for San Francisco’s Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS). Dearman currently serves as the Executive Director of the San Francisco In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Public Authority, which helps seniors and people with disabilities to live independently and participate in their communities. Mayor Breed nominated Dearman to the role and she was confirmed yesterday by the Disability and Aging Services Commission. She will start the new position on May 24.

As one of the three departments of the San Francisco Human Services Agency, DAS offers essential programming to maximize the well-being, safety, and independence of all adults with disabilities, older people, and veterans. The services provided by DAS and its community partners include access to food, health insurance, and other benefits; in-home care and supportive services; protective services that help prevent neglect and abuse; and assistance with technology, transportation, and programs to prevent isolation. Additionally, DAS administers the Dignity Fund, which provides guaranteed funding to help older adults and adults with disabilities age with dignity in their own homes and communities.

“Kelly Dearman’s longstanding commitment to advocating for the rights of seniors and people with disabilities as well as her strong ties to the community makes her an excellent fit to lead our Department of Disability and Aging Services,” said Mayor Breed. “As our population continues to age, the department’s efforts to ensure older adults and people with disabilities can live healthy, dignified lives is only going to become more important. I am looking forward to working with Kelly as we continue San Francisco’s ongoing efforts to make it easier for everyone, and especially our most vulnerable community members, to live and thrive in our city.”

“I have been focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities and older adults, and I want to thank Mayor Breed for the opportunity to serve the people of San Francisco in this new capacity,” said Kelly Dearman. “I look forward to utilizing my experience and my deep roots in San Francisco, and to expand on all of the accomplished work that has already been done at DAS.”

Dearman’s years of experience in the field of long-term supportive services make her well prepared to lead DAS. In her time at the IHSS Public Authority, she improved coordination with partner agencies to better assist the people IHSS serves and launched a program to help more people live independently. Additionally, she is President of the California Association of Public Authorities, is a member on the San Francisco Long Term Care Coordinating Council, and is co-chair of the San Francisco Aging and Disability Task Force. Prior to serving as Executive Director of the IHSS Public Authority, she was the President of the San Francisco Human Services Commission.

“Kelly Dearman is an inspired choice by the Mayor to lead DAS, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to work with her,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the Human Services Agency. “With her deep level of commitment to serving those in need, I am confident that she will continue DAS’ legacy of accomplishments by advancing the interests of older adults, people with disabilities, veterans and their families.”

“We’re very pleased to recommend Kelly Dearman as our next DAS Director,” said Martha Knutzen, President of the San Francisco Disability and Aging Services Commission. “We are excited about the skills and experience she is bringing to our department, especially around her work with caregivers, and we’re looking forward to having her guidance as we move forward with reopening and continuing to take care of our vulnerable populations. We know she will bring a real compassion and energy to the incredibly important work of serving our seniors, our adults with disabilities, and our veterans.”

“Kelly has the experience, passion, and commitment to effectively serve our city’s older adults and people with disabilities,” said Sandy Mori, Vice-chair, Oversight Advisory Committee for the Dignity Fund. “She is a collaborator and community builder and I look forward to seeing her continue her work advocating for those in need. My warmest congratulations to her.”

Dearman has deep ties to San Francisco and the Bay Area. In 2008, Dearman co-founded SF Urban CHC, a nonprofit providing first time homebuyer education and financial literacy for low- to moderate-income San Francisco residents. She is currently on the Board of Goodwill San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin, Delancey Street Foundation, and Openhouse San Francisco.

“Kelly has the expertise and collaborative spirit to continue the legacy that former Executive Director Shireen McSpadden created at DAS,” said Cathy Davis, Executive Director of Bayview Senior Services. “Kelly’s commitment to social justice and genuine concern for people who are vulnerable and marginalized is needed to keep DAS moving forward.”

“We at Self-Help for the Elderly send our heartfelt congratulations to Kelly as she steps in as Executive Director of DAS,” said Anni Chung, President and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly. “With her many years of direct experience and leadership positions in the aging and disability community, we look forward to working with her and the Commission in meeting the needs of our seniors.”

Dearman has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, a JD from UC Hastings, and an MA in Public Policy from Rutgers University. For ten years, she ran a small law practice specializing in elder issues and probate law. Additionally, Dearman and her sister previously operated a real estate company founded by their grandmother more than 50 years ago.

Dearman was born and raised in San Francisco. She lives in the Cole Valley neighborhood with her family, living in the same house she grew up in. She lives with her husband, two children, and her parents.

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