SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s State of Emergency declaration for the Tenderloin will expire this week after the city spent 90 days pouring resources into the drug-plagued neighborhood.
Breed pledged to continue building on “progress made” over the past three months for decreasing drug overdoses, cracking down on drug dealers, and improving public safety.
“While the emergency declaration will expire this week, operations launched pursuant to the Tenderloin Emergency Initiative will continue, including daily coordination, outreach, care, street cleaning, and other interventions to disrupt and mitigate harmful behaviors,” the mayor’s office wrote.
“The challenges in the Tenderloin are decades in the making and they won’t be solved overnight, but we are committed to making a difference for everyone who lives and visits the neighborhood,” Breed said.
To ensure staffing resources can be sustained, a supplement to the mayor’s Tenderloin State of Emergency was issued to allow for extended deployments of disaster service workers and operations through June.
Late last year, two people were dying every day from drug overdoses in the city – predominately in the Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods.
“The Tenderloin Emergency Initiative has allowed us to hire hundreds of behavioral health workers and open the Tenderloin Linkage Center in just a matter of months, cutting through the city’s bureaucracy,” Breed said.
“Since the emergency was declared, thousands of people have been referred to health and human services, hundreds have received shelter, and tons and tons of trash and debris have been removed from the streets. While we’ve made noticeable progress, we’ve made a commitment to the Tenderloin community and we’re continuing our emergency response, including assigning dozens of additional officers to the neighborhood to address drug dealing and other illegal activity that cannot be allowed to continue,” Breed said.
Twenty San Francisco Police Department officers will start patrolling the Tenderloin this week as part of the city’s efforts to disrupt drug dealing.
The mayor’s office said its goal is to create “long lasting, positive change in the Tenderloin.”
“The Tenderloin’s history, diversity and inclusivity make this neighborhood a San Francisco treasure, but the complexity of the challenges this community face requires a coordinated, organized, and systematic approach,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director of the Department of Emergency Management.
“The role of emergency management is to provide leadership and coordination during times of crisis. My department looks forward to continued support of the Tenderloin Emergency Initiative through the end of June as we enter into a new phase,” Carroll said.
Through the Tenderloin Linkage Center, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing placed hundreds of people living on the streets into shelters and connected drug addicts with rehabilitation services.
The Tenderloin Linkage Center will soon open a “sober living room,” an intentional space where guests can be in a quiet and substance-free space led by peers in recovery.
San Francisco Police Department Tenderloin officers arrested 162 drug dealers between December and March. Police also seized 15 kilos of drugs (more than 8.6 kilos of which is fentanyl).
“The Tenderloin Emergency Initiative has enabled San Francisco police officers to better focus on police work,” Police Chief William Scott said.
“Our Tenderloin officers are doing outstanding work to arrest drug dealers and take deadly drugs — especially fentanyl — off the street. They have doubled the number of drug dealer arrests, and their year-to-date haul in fentanyl seizures for 2022 is already more than three times what it was a year ago, which was itself a record-shattering year for fentanyl seizures. I’m incredibly proud of the heroic and too often thankless work our officers are doing in the Tenderloin. They are making a difference. They are saving lives. And they deserve San Franciscans’ gratitude,” Scott said.
Public data dashboards are now available on the Tenderloin Emergency Initiative website at sf.gov/TenderloinInitiative