Crews are cleaning Tenderloin streets and sidewalks and outreach workers are offering homeless people shelter as part of Mayor London Breed's push to improve conditions in the troubled neighborhood.
While some early changes are visible — nearly 80 people who are homeless got inside as the result of a new shelter option and a few corners are looking cleaner and cleared of drug dealers and users — familiar issues persist generally throughout the Tenderloin . Workers ask those who don't accept shelter, for example, to simply move elsewhere, and not everyone has received an offer.
The city also plans to open a drop-in center in U.N. Plaza this week to link people to services such as housing and treatment and hire health care workers to offer long-term help. And a key and controversial piece of Breed's strategy, increasing police presence in the Tenderloin , is rolling out slowly, with arrests of drug dealers remaining flat.
Mary Ellen Carroll, director of the Department of Emergency Management, who's spearheading the push, said city workers are doing their jobs with more coordination, transparency and accountability as a result of the initiative. She said she "wouldn't expect to see a change in drug use in the Tenderloin at this point" because the linkage center hasn't opened yet. She also said housing people doesn't always lead to reduced public drug use.
"Some of those people are going to come back outside and use, and that's just reality," she said.
Breed's initiative and her declaration of a state of emergency in the area came in the wake of residents pressuring her to take action. Critics have questioned whether the plan focuses more on cosmetic changes to street conditions than long-standing root issues in the neighborhood. Breed cautioned residents in a meeting last month that change wouldn't happen overnight, and said in a Tweet on Jan. 6 that "it's going to take time," but also visited the corner of Turk and Hyde to tout clean sidewalks by a park in a video .
Based on Chronicle visits before the initiative and Wednesday, that corner looks much the same. Community ambassadors have been stationed there for months, and their presence often causes drug dealing and use to move to other areas.
One block from where the mayor stood, the 300 block of Hyde has been in need of help for years, but residents say more people were pushed there after ambassadors got stationed a street over last year.
On visits in December, the corner of Eddy and Hyde streets was so crowded it was almost impassable. Around two dozen men who residents said are drug dealers clustered in front of the ICU Market Deli and Ice Cream while people slumped, needles in slack hands, down the block. The store entrance was so congested that customers didn't come in, said manager Maharn Badani.
That shifted about 10 days ago when Public Works, outreach workers and police showed up, he said. On a recent day, cops also hung out on the corner for about two hours, he said. That temporarily deterred dealers, but they still came back at night, he added.
Wednesday afternoon, Badani was grateful the path to the store was clearer and new customers were starting to come in. But on the other side of the 300 block of Hyde and up toward Ellis, people were still using or selling drugs and other goods.
As part of the operation on that block and the 400 and 600 blocks of Eddy Street from Jan. 5 to 9, Public Works picked up 2½ tons of debris, city data shows. Outreach workers placed 20 people into shelter or housing after more than 123 interactions, got one person a taxi to urgent care, and handed out clothes, water, blankets and gift cards.
That was a change from a one-day effort on Dec. 20 when outreach workers offered shelter to 110 people on the same block and no one accepted. Carroll attributed success to the opening of the COVA Hotel on Ellis Street as a winter shelter from Dec. 27 through March that offers a private room with a bathroom.
An additional 58 people from across the Tenderloin were placed in the hotel since it opened. By comparison, the city's homeless outreach team placed 202 people in the neighborhood in some form of shelter in December.
If people don't accept shelter, "they are asked to move along," Carroll said. As a result, tent counts have dropped.
The initiative has helped some. A month ago, Heather Campbell was sitting on the corner of Eddy and Hyde next to her boyfriend, surrounded by her belongings, "tripping out," she said. But 10 days ago, the city offered them a room at the COVA and they took it. She's been homeless for 13 years and wants permanent housing.
"It's made a good impact on my life because I'm inside," she said Wednesday as she stopped to greet a friend on the block. "I'm totally cool with it compared to being out here."
Clyde Darn, lying in a tent Wednesday, missed his chance to get in the hotel because he was in the hospital the previous week. He said police officers told him four days ago he had to leave, but he doesn't have a place to go.
Others already have housing but still use drugs on the street. Jensina Hardy, sitting on a wooden chair holding a crack pipe, said she and her husband are paying $800 for a tiny single-room-occupancy hotel room with no kitchen. She comes to Hyde most days to see her friends, use and buy drugs.
Drugs and other issues on the block haven't changed much, with daily numbers fluctuating from roughly 10 to 20 incidents of drug activity and 10 to 25 "problem behaviors" from Jan. 3 to 7.
"Problem behaviors" include someone lying down on the sidewalk or street, walking without regard to traffic, having no attempt at hygiene, inappropriately clothed for the weather, exposed genitalia, hoarding and public defecation.
Carroll said police officers were also present keeping drug dealers away while outreach workers offered services. Three residents said they've also seen some more regular patrols recently — one officer walked the block Wednesday and got in a car parked on the corner of Hyde and Ellis — but residents said dealers usually just move when police come and return when they leave.
Across the Tenderloin last week, police made five drug-related arrests, on par throughout the pandemic where drug arrests range from one to 26 a week, balancing out to an average of 10.
One of the goals of the initiative is to cut down on 911 calls to the area. From Jan. 3 to 9 across the Tenderloin, emergency personnel responded to 356 medical calls, with seven deaths and 17 overdoses. Data wasn't available on how many of the overdoses were also deaths. On average in the neighborhood in 2020, three people a week died of overdoses.
Some residents take matters into their own hands. Halfway up the 300 block of Hyde, Alex Alvarado stood Wednesday outside the open garage of the apartment building he's managed off and on for 20 years, and lived in for more than four. He washes the street daily, picking up trash and getting people using or dealing drugs to move from the door.
He said the city's recent efforts have made a marginal difference, but the street has gone "up and down" over the years. Long-term, he wants to see the city do more to offer and compel people to get help.
"It's gotten better during the day, but at night it's like a free-for-all," he said.
Alvarado twice interrupted himself to ask men lighting up to get away from the building's doors.
"The neighbors love me, the druggies not so much," he said.
San Francisco Chronicle data reporter Yoohyun Jung contributed to this report.
Mallory Moench is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter:@mallorymoench
- Here’s How to Stay Productive If You’re Working at Home
- Got rid of acne but dealing with acne scars? This is how you treat them
- CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend's TV: Killing Eve’s got so drab, even Niko’s moustache is in a sulk
- Facing an uncertain future, Amoeba Music launches GoFundMe campaign: 'We are in trouble'
- As governments fumbled their coronavirus response, these four got it right. Here's how.
- Here's why coronavirus testing is so important
- He signed up for a coronavirus vaccine trial using a method that's never been used in humans. Here's why.
- Stanislas Wawrinka beats Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final – as it happened
- World Cup 2010: Germany v England – as it happened
- Trump wants to treat COVID-19 with UV light. Here’s why that wouldn’t work
- SF homeless chief to take over city’s troubled encampment street operation
- Blight is eating American cities. Here’s how Mobile, Alabama, stopped it
- She Got Her Great-Granddaughter A Dress For Her Birthday. She Died Of The Coronavirus Before Giving It To Her.
- Veronica Roth's "Chosen Ones" Is The BuzzFeed Book Club May Pick. Here's The First Chapter.
- Here’s The SXSW 2020 Festival Slate To Launch On Prime Video April 27
- Triple J Hottest 100 – as it happened
- World Cup 2010: England v USA – as it happened
- The story of Joe Burrow and Ed Orgeron: Here's the last chapter of our 'forever linked' series
- Wheels of progress: What happens when a rural town becomes the mountain bike capital of Australia?
- Michigan Conservatives ‘Not Concerned’ About COVID-19 Block Ambulance During Protest Against Social Distancing
|GUESS Men's U0167G4 Sporty Chronograph Watch on a Comfortable Green Silicone Strap with Date Function5.0★ / check it now at Amazon||Buy Here Click Here Orange Translucent Glow in the Dark Premium Bumper Case for Apple iPhone 41.9★ / $10.99||Buck Denver Asks: What's in the Bible? Volume Two - Let My People Go4.9★ / $12.99||Buck Denver Asks: What's in the Bible? Volume One - In the Beginning4.4★ / $12.98||Tyler Perry's What's Done in the Dark... - The Play Collection4.2★ / $7.99||Buck Denver Asks: What's In The Bible? Volume Eleven - Spreading The Good News!4.9★ / $12.99||Buck Denver Asks: What's In The Bible? The Complete Bible4.8★ / $248.24||Buck Denver Asks: What's in the Bible? Volume Three - Wanderin' In The Desert4.9★ / $2.48||What Happens In Vegas [Blu-ray]3.5★ / $12.93||Behind The Smoke Curtain: What Happened at the Pentagon on 9/11, and What Didn't, and Why it Matters4.5★ / check it now at Amazon||What Happens in Vegas (Widescreen Edition)4.1★ / $6.25||27 Dresses / Bride Wars / What Happens in Vegas / What's Your Number Quadruple Feature4.7★ / $21.97||Samuel L. Jackson Triple Feature (The Long Kiss Goodnight / Deep Blue Sea / Snakes on a Plane) [Blu-ray]$11.39||Cruising America's Waterways: Big Ships - Cruising On A Grand Scale (Canada/New England)3.0★ / $5.99||In the Flesh (Series 1 & 2) - 3-Disc Set ( In the Flesh - Series One and Two ) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - United Kingdom ]1.0★ / check it now at Amazon||What Happens in Vegas (Extended Jackpot Edition + Digital Copy)4.7★ / $11.18||What Happens in Vegas$3.95||The 3-Movie Leading Men Collection (Air Force One / A Few Good Men / In The Line Of Fire)3.0★ / $28.79||What Happens in Vegas / In Her Shoes / There's Something About Mary / Knight and Day Quad Feature5.0★ / $30||27 Dresses / Bride Wars / What Happens in Vegas / What's Your Number Quad Feature5.0★ / $14.99||WHAT & WHY in the World Are They Spraying?4.5★ / check it now at Amazon||What Happened In Vegas$9.99||Romantic Comedy Three-Pack (There's Something About Mary / What Happens in Vegas / The Girl Next Door) [Blu-ray]5.0★ / check it now at Amazon||It Happened In The Park (villa Borghese)$17.99||World’s Best Paintings by Museum On A Stick check it now at Amazon||What Happens in Vegas [Theatrical Release] check it now at Amazon||Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Complete Season One on a 3 DVD set)2.0★ / check it now at Amazon||Roger McGuinn's Guide To Home Recording on a Computer4.8★ / $28.88||The Party Continuous 30th Birthday Party Molded Candle on a Stick Decoration, Pack of 6, Multi , 9 1/2" Wax, stick$7.59||Winnie the Pooh Plush with His Hunny Pot Sitting on a Soft Bean Bag - 6 Inches check it now at Amazon||My Garage What Happens in My Garage My Rules Tin Sign 16" By 13" check it now at Amazon||The Party Continuous 60th Birthday Party Molded Candle on a Stick Decoration, Pack of 6, Multi , 9 1/2" Wax, stick$7||Glow In The Dark Skeleton Bones Fingerless Work Gloves Green On Black Goth Punk Emo Gothic Riding check it now at Amazon||Valuable Lost In The Barrens Lit Link Gr 7-8 By On The Mark T4T5.0★ / check it now at Amazon||What Happens in Vegas Skill Stop Machine check it now at Amazon||Mitchell & Ness Men's Oklahoma City Thunder Stop on a Dime Snapback check it now at Amazon||River's Edge What Happens At The Cabin Tin Thermometer5.0★ / check it now at Amazon||Skill Stop Slot Machine - What Happens in Vegas, Model# 14-LVBK check it now at Amazon||Secrets of the Dead - What Happened to the Hindenburg (vol. 3) [VHS]4.5★ / $39.89||Creation Science Evangelism Seminar What Is in the Textbooks? Seminar Part 4 VHS2.0★ / $3.95||Secrets of the Dead (Cannibalism in the Canyon/What Happened To The Hindenburg?/The Lost Vikings/Catastrophe!) [VHS]5.0★ / $46||Toner Eagle Brand Compatible Toner Cartridge For Use In the HP 4200, 4200N, 4200TN, 4200DTN Laser Printers. Replaces HP Q1338A check it now at Amazon||LegalStore Exhibit Labels "Petitioner's Exhibit" Yellow, Laser Compatible on 8.5"x11" Sheets check it now at Amazon||The Nero Ball Classic TM - K-9 Ball On a Rope Reward and Exercise Toy - Police K-9 - Schutzhund - Natural Rubber (2.75")$15.95||St. Patrick's Day Dog Bandana - St. Patrick's Shamrocks - X-Large - ties on a 21-28" neck check it now at Amazon||Imagine This Paw Magnet, What Happens at The Dog Park Stays at The Dog Park$6.99||Kenneth Cole Unlisted Men's U Got It Slip-On Loafer check it now at Amazon||Men's F-302 Casual Slip On Moccasins Loafer Shoes check it now at Amazon||Buxton Women's Crossbody Clutch Mini Bag On A String - Choice of Colors check it now at Amazon||Dora the Explorer Diego Insulated Lunchbox - Diego " Lets go on a dinosaur mission" Lunch Tote check it now at Amazon|
Here’s what happened in the Tenderloin when S.F. got laser-focused on a few troubled blocks have 2362 words, post on www.sfchronicle.com at April 1, 2022. This is cached page on USA Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.