Press Release

San Francisco releases Tenderloin Neighborhood Safety Assessment and Plan for COVID-19

Block-by-block assessment identifies consistent challenges to guide the City’s response for improving the conditions on the streets and ensuring the health and safety of all Tenderloin residents.
May 06, 2020

Mayor London N. Breed today announced the release of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Safety Assessment and Plan for COVID-19, a comprehensive report of the current conditions in the Tenderloin and a block-by-block plan for addressing those challenges. The Tenderloin Plan is part of the City’s broader efforts to address the public health crisis in San Francisco and among people who are experiencing homelessness.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tenderloin has seen a significant increase in unsheltered homelessness and a reduction in quality of life and safety for housed and unhoused residents alike. Mayor Breed directed the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to establish a citywide roundtable of stakeholders with a focus on low-income residents, immigrants, African Americans and other communities to address the disparate impacts of the coronavirus. Tenderloin stakeholders joined the roundtable at the beginning of April to identify and escalate urgent needs to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The collaborative effort has led to the distribution of thousands of face coverings, meals, and technology equipment for youth distance learning to the Tenderloin neighborhood.

In April, the HRC Tenderloin Community Roundtable facilitated the assembly of a team of representative City departments from the Healthy Streets Operations Center and community groups and stakeholders to design and implement a robust Tenderloin Neighborhood Needs Assessment. This assessment was conducted on the morning of April 28th and consisted of multi-disciplinary teams walking each block of a segment of the Tenderloin, broken into six geographic zones. Each City department used a standardized survey tool to evaluate each block on a set of safety and quality of life parameters relevant to their respective departments. The report issued today compiles findings from these assessments and details a plan to address the issues facing the Tenderloin during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to ensuring our most vulnerable neighbors are safe and have access to the resources they need to stay healthy during this public health crisis,” said Mayor Breed. “This plan was informed by an on-the-ground assessment of the current challenges in the Tenderloin and with input from the community, and our City employees and nonprofit partners who are out there every day interacting with and serving the people who are experiencing homelessness. By implementing this plan, we can help improve health and safety of everyone living in the Tenderloin.” 

The Tenderloin Plan seeks to address and improve conditions in the neighborhood, with an initial focus on the 13 blocks in the Tenderloin that are most highly impacted. Implementation of the Plan will be iterative and informed by ongoing community input, with a goal of expanding to the other 36 blocks in the Tenderloin not specifically identified in the Plan.

The Plan has eight main goals:

  1. Address encampments by offering safe sleeping alternatives to unsheltered individuals.
  2. Facilitate social distancing compliance by closing streets and parking.
  3. Ensure that housed residents in the Tenderloin have safe passage and access to their homes and businesses.
  4. Improve access to hygiene station, restrooms and garbage disposal for unhoused individuals.
  5. Address food and water insecurity for housed and unhoused residents alike.
  6. Increase police presence in the neighborhood to focus on public safety concerns.
  7. Increase health services in the neighborhood.
  8. Increased education and outreach to residents and businesses through a ‘care ambassador’ program.

The City has begun implementing the recommendations in the plan, and is focusing first on the 13 blocks with the highest needs. The City has already installed six drinking water fixtures in the Tenderloin—called manifolds—that attach to fire hydrants and allow for drinking water access. Starting the week of May 11, the City will activate a “Safe Sleeping Village” at the current Fulton Street Mall encampment, which will have on-site services and be operated by Urban Alchemy.

A team of community care ambassadors will operate in the Tenderloin taking a measured block-by-block approach to supporting neighboring community members in social distancing, accessing pertinent resources, and participate in light street cleaning

The Tenderloin Plan is one of the ways the City is protecting the health of people experiencing homelessness. The City has moved 1,053 people experiencing homelessness into hotel rooms and has established 120 shelter-in-place RVs and trailers for people experiencing homelessness in District 10. The City has expanded meal delivery to existing encampments and has expanded the number of handwashing stations and staffed Pit Stops. There are now 49 24/7 staffed Pit Stops in San Francisco.

The model of the Tenderloin Plan will be used to inform and create comprehensive plans for other neighborhoods down the road throughout the City heavily impacted by the ongoing public health crisis.

“The Tenderloin Plan is the direct result of a coordinated effort by multiple City-departments, Tenderloin residents and community non-profits coming together to protect our housed and unhoused neighbors alike,” said Jeff Kositsky, Manager of the Healthy Streets Operations Center. “The safety assessment will allow us to provide acute care to our vulnerable populations so they are safe and have access to the resources they need, while also maintaining the health and well-being of the surrounding neighborhood.”

“How we address homelessness, addiction and mental health during this unprecedented global pandemic is of utmost importance. I am proud of the disaster service workers, service providers and community members who have worked tirelessly to develop solutions during this public health crisis,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. “The Tenderloin Plan can serve as a model for how San Francisco promotes healthy streets as we learn to live with COVID-19 in our community.”

“The creation and implementation of the Tenderloin Plan has been a community-driven process from start to finish,” said Sheryl Davis, Executive Director of the HRC. “We are thankful for the continued collaboration and open dialogue we have established with Tenderloin community stakeholders. This plan is a great start at addressing their urgent needs to make the neighborhood safer, healthier, and more livable for all.” 

“The housed and unhoused residents of the Tenderloin are uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Interim Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. “We are grateful for the leadership of Mayor Breed and the Emergency Operations Center in the development and implementation of the strategy.”

“As a community leader, being a part of the Community Roundtable and the Tenderloin Subcommittee has allowed me to help our families and neighbors — housed and unhoused, business owners, and community agencies — with solving some of the issues being presented in the Tenderloin,” said Michael Vuong, Clubhouse Director for the Tenderloin Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco. “I, along with others in the community, have had an opportunity to have a voice, provide feedback, and hear directly from the City agencies who have participated in solving these issues. While we may not always agree and acknowledge there's more to do, it's important that the lines of communication stay open, and that is what has happened thanks to the leadership of Sheryl Davis and Suzy Loftus.”

Download the plan

Tenderloin Neighborhood Plan for COVID-19