Tenderloin THrives


We want to take a moment to take a deep breathe and say thank you to the many community members who came out to the Board of Supervisors, Public Safety & Neighborhood Services Committee, Hearing on Open Drug Dealing on Thursday, April 25th.

There was overwhelming support for a City Task Force to address the open air drug trade in public comment. Thank you everyone who filled out the Online Poll. (We received over 200 responses!) We will be releasing another survey following the City Hall hearing and will continue to update you on upcoming events, updates, and information as it becomes available.

Also in case you missed it, here are the comments the TLCBD shared at the meeting, as well as the video of the entire hearing. (Jump ahead to time 2:40:10 to watch this specific hearing item.)


In the meantime, here are some action steps you can take right now…

  1. Submit a personal or organizational Letter of Support in favor of a City Task Force to address this issue.

  2. Let us know you support the Tenderloin Thrives Initiative by adding your name to the list of supporters. Endorse the Tenderloin Thrives Initiative

  3. Connect with your local block safety group. If you are unsure who your closest group might be, we can help you get in touch.

  4. Send us your feedback about the hearing.

    **Email Kate [at] tlcbd.org


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Tenderloin Thrives is our commitment to work together to address the community harms stemming from the open-air drug trade in the Tenderloin neighborhood. The Tenderloin faces many intersecting challenges and disparities in access and opportunity to thrive. We believe there is no path to a healthy and vibrant community for ALL—including the most vulnerable, low-income people of color and the unsheltered—without directly working to change deep-rooted systems and policies that allow harms arising directly from, and within, the drug trade to persist.

We cannot disrupt the status quo alone. By working together we can bring our collective experience and multi-sector voices to:

1. Clarify goals–what is it that we can solve together?

2. Raise awareness and ignite a citywide conversation

3. Bring the issue to the attention of the Mayor and City leadership

4. Call for a City Task Force to acknowledge and address these harms as a question of health equity

We know from our collective experience that:

• The drug trade is not victimless – the whole community is damaged by daily acts that create persistent environmental trauma, fear, dirty sidewalks, violence, and death in the Tenderloin.

• This issue is one of community health and equity.

• The drug trade disproportionately impacts Tenderloin residents - especially families with children and youth - and Tenderloin small businesses.

• The magnitude of this issue as it exists in the Tenderloin would simply not be fostered in any other neighborhood in the city.

• The drug trade cannot and will not be combatted through enforcement alone; the war on drugs failed and did lasting damage to our communities.

• We must create pathways out of systemic racism and build racial equity. A majority of the visible drug dealers in the Tenderloin are people of color, and a majority of the residents whose health is negatively impacted by the drug trade are low-income people of color.

• We must create alternative pathways to economic opportunity for all.

• This issue is now affecting adjacent neighborhoods - SoMa, Market Street, Civic Center – and has caused damage to San Francisco’s international reputation.

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1. Hold community dialogue to inform the strategy and messaging and clarify goals

• Allow all voices to contribute

• Find common ground to move forward

• Respect all different experiences, recognizing trauma

• Build restorative justice practices

• Recognize the issue is deeply rooted and complex, with various intersectional points including cleanliness, addiction, homelessness, racism, and equity

• Commit to work through conflict, at all levels including task force and block groups, to guide decisions and policy with a united voice

2. Cultivate a community-led response through Tenderloin block-based groups

• Work through conflict toward action

• Foster connection & engagement

• Beyond the barricade—invite designs that build community, physical improvement & positive activation

• Build consistency in positive engagement on the block through training and Safe Passage best practices

3. Engage Board of Supervisors and City Agency leadership

• Leverage engagement of District 6 Supervisor

• Rally widespread community engagement in Committee hearings

• Engage Department of Public Health and Behavioral Health Services and other City Agency leadership in the conversation

• Engage research and academic partners

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City Task Force

We are calling for a City Task Force to address these issues head, just like Vision Zero, which brings committed stakeholders together to reach a common goal. We recommend the City Task Force adopt a five-pillar approach to include prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery, enforcement and economic opportunities.

We recommend the City Task Force include:

• Diverse resident representation & broad range of multi-sector perspectives

• People with lived experience, including people who are or have been directly involved in the drug trade

• The Mayor’s Office

• A research team to bring data and evidence-based best practices from San Francisco and other cities nationwide

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