Tenderloin Thrives

Tenderloin THrives

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San Francisco supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance to create a Street-Level Drug Dealing Task Force during the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 24, 2019 and is currently looking for people to fill the seats. Apply here.

In April, Haney’s office first brought attention to the issue as part of a hearing of the Neighborhood Safety and Services Committee meeting. That meeting drew hundreds of community members. It was also at that time that Kate Robinson, TLCBD Director of Safe Programs presented to the committee.


Apply for the City’s Street-Level Drug Dealing Task Force

TLCBD continues to work to address the negative impacts Tenderloin community members experience as a result of this pervasive issue. We cannot do it without you. We invite ALL community members to work together to address the harms experienced as a result of the open drug market that exists here.

If you are interested in learning more, participating in a block safety group, or joining a community council process parallel to the task force, email Kate [at] tlcbd.org.

TL THRIVES: Overview

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

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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.


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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