SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Federal workers at the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in San Francisco have reportedly been told for work from home for the foreseeable future due to safety concerns, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The federal building, located on the corner of Seventh and Mission streets, is home to agencies that include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the office of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi.
According to the newspaper, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services issued the work-from-home advisory in a memo to regional leaders earlier this month.
“In light of the conditions at the (Federal Building) we recommend employees … maximize the use of telework for the foreseeable future,” read a portion of the memo cited by the Chronicle. “This recommendation should be extended to all Region IX employees, including those not currently utilizing telework flexibilities.”
The area around the federal building is a regular spot for drug dealers and users to congregate. Open-air drug markets operate brazenly in the neighborhoods near the federal building, with the Tenderloin and SOMA districts regarded as the epicenter of the city’s fentanyl crisis.
The area around the federal building regularly sees dealers “operating in shifts as users smoke, snort or shoot up their recent purchases,” the Chronicle reported. “The property’s concrete benches are an especially popular site for users to get high, socialize or pass out.”
It is not known if other tenants of the building are implementing a similar policy. KRON4 reached out to Speaker Emerita Pelosi’s office and received the following response:
“The safety of workers in our federal buildings has always been a priority for Speaker Emerita Pelosi, whether in the building or on their commutes. Federal, state and local law enforcement – in coordination with public health officials and stakeholders – are working hard to address the acute crises of fentanyl trafficking and related violence in certain areas of the city.”
The supposed directive from the Department of HHS comes just as President Biden is reportedly calling for federal employees nationwide to begin working more in the office, following several years of working remotely. At the local level, there has been an ongoing effort from city officials like Mayor London Breed to get more employees back working in the office.
Last year, Breed announced a commitment to returning to in-person work in the city.
KRON4 has reached out to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and is currently awaiting a response.