Hello Tenderloin! A letter from our new Executive Director

 
 Simon Bertrang at TLCBD office, 512 Ellis Street.

Simon Bertrang at TLCBD office, 512 Ellis Street.

 

Hello Tenderloin! 

I am very excited to have the chance to lead the Tenderloin Community Benefit District (TLCBD) at a pivotal time in its 14-year history. And thank you all for the warm welcome so far.  I am lucky to be joining a dedicated, hard-working staff and an active and visionary Board of Directors as we lead the evolution of the Tenderloin into a vibrant community for ALL. Our focus will be in fostering clean, safe, and inviting spaces, amplifying neighborhood pride, and creating economic opportunity.

In the Tenderloin, I see the best San Francisco has to offer: a beautiful and active neighborhood, full of life, energy and everything that makes cities wonderful places to live.  With the twenty-five thousand people including 3500 children who make their home here, the thousands who work here every day, the dynamic restaurants and night life, the regular and repeated influx of immigrant newcomers looking for a safe home with opportunity—the Tenderloin is already a great neighborhood.

But the intractable social issues we are struggling with in California and nationwide—burgeoning homelessness, ongoing opioid crisis, and persistent poverty and hunger—find their most extreme expression in San Francisco, and even more so in the Tenderloin. They are showing up in full force on our streets and roiling the politics of one of the richest cities in the world.

Our City is struggling with how to address these issues in an effective and humane way. But in the Tenderloin we know where to start:  with the people. The community will be the foundation of any way forward.

In 2008, a group of Tenderloin mothers came together to find new ways to keep their children safe by creating Safe Passage. I am inspired by their living legacy and the ongoing work of our staff and scores of volunteers to keep the streets friendly and safe as part of the TLCBD’s Safe Passage Program.  We will be expanding this community-focused model to find ways our other programs can tap into the energy and initiative of the people that live and work here.

At the TLCBD we believe the Tenderloin will be the source of solutions to some of the most stubborn problems we see on San Francisco streets. I look forward to serving this neighborhood, to working with a committed Board of Directors, staff, and you, the community, the residents, businesses, organizations and property owners who will be the way forward for the Tenderloin, and for our City.

Sincerely,

Simon