The turn of the new century and the decade that followed was full of monumental milestones for the United States. Scientists began to caution even louder that climate change was imminent and measurable by the 2000’s. A giant political shift occurred in the country when George W. Bush, by way of the Supreme Court, won the 2000 presidential election against Al Gore. Social media companies were founded and have single handedly changed the world landscape of media and information. The events of 9/11 and the War on Terrorism shocked and spread widespread fear around the threats of extremism. Technology companies began to drive tremendous economic growth with companies like Google and Apple raking in billions in profits, creating an online shopping craze and creating a new class of wealthy people: the IPO and tech billionaires. The wealth being created in the country was a stark contrast to the pain and suffering from the subprime mortgage meltdown and the subsequent 2007 economic collapse that led to the Great Recession of 2008. The turmoil caused by the recession, unemployment, underwater mortgages and shrinking retirement funds forced many people to start working multiple jobs, such as many joining the new “gig” economy by using their personal cars to provide ride-sharing services for brand new companies Uber and Lyft.
San Francisco and the Bay Area were central to the tech boom that brought in waves of newcomers; the ongoing gentrification changed many aspects of the area and brought with it issues of lack of affordable housing, increased cost of living and thoughts that The City was losing its artistic soul. Many people, most part of already marginalized communities, began to feel the economic consequences of the decade and a rise in bankruptcies, home foreclosures and homelessness began to rise and became more visible in The City.
Curry Senior Center was up to face the challenges of the 2000’s and began the decade with growth, in both agency space and in receiving major funding for expansion of services. With the chance to purchase a right-next-door building at 315 Turk Street,, the site of a former auto body repair shop, the Board quickly acquired and renovated the building and relocated many of the departments that were housed at the 333 Turk St. The social programs now had a larger space for programming, the Case Management department now had dedicated interview rooms to meet with clients and the Administration department had their own offices.
In 2004 California voters approved a measure that would create the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). This bill empowered counties to “transform their mental health systems to achieve the goals of raising awareness, promoting the early identification of mental health problems, making access to treatment easier, improving the effectiveness of services, reducing the use of out-of-home and institutional care, and eliminating stigma toward those with severe mental illness or serious emotional disturbance.” This piece of legislation was vital to the creation of mental health services at Curry Senior Center. The need in the community was significant and the Center was now able to be a central provider of these services and help community members close to their home. This funding would become integral in the following decade, as more and more older adults began needing these services.