S.F. prepares to open Tenderloin service center as part of Mayor Breed’s emergency plan

But critics still aren’t sold: ‘I see a lot of smoke, mirrors and a lot of cops’

Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced plans to open a service “linkage ccenter” this month as part of her Tenderloin Emergency Intervention plan to address public safety.

The center will be used to connect people living on the streets with services and resources. Located at 1170 Market St., the center is expected to open mid-month with space for 100, with plans to expand capacity later.

Breed unveiled her Tenderloin Emergency Intervention plan last month, along with a 90-day emergency declaration for the neighborhood that would allow The City to waive rules around contract procurement and zoning codes for the center. The emergency declaration will also allow The City to waive certain laws around hiring to quickly bring on board some 200 behavioral health clinicians.

The Tenderloin Emergency Intervention plan aims to address crime, public drug use and overdose deaths. Part of the plan also includes increased the police presence.

Since the plan launched over the last two weeks, 58 people living on the streets have been placed in non-congregate shelters, 23 others have been taken to hospitals or behavioral health programs and 33 have been arrested in connection with drug dealing, according to city officials.

In addition, 16 streetlights have been repaired and the Department of Public Works has responded to 1,044 requests for service for waste removal and power washing.

“We are coordinating all our city departments to do everything they can to support everyone living in the Tenderloin,” Breed said in a statement. “These initial efforts will continue everyday as we add more resources, like opening up a new Linkage Center that will allow us to more quickly and directly connect people to services. We’ve made a commitment to this neighborhood and its residents and businesses, and we will follow through.”

The Board of Supervisors approved Breed’s emergency declaration 9-2, with Board President Shamann Walton and Supervisor Dean Preston voting against.

On Tuesday, supervisors revisited the topic during a hearing.

“This is absolutely an attack on progressive solutions,” Preston said during the hearing. “This is not a public health plan. There are outlines of some good public health ideas. Unfortunately, I’ve concluded by looking at this at now two extensive public hearings, as I’ve said before, I see a lot of smoke, mirrors and a lot of cops.”

He added that the plan still lacks “specific guardrails against the ramping up of police and carceral solutions.”

Supervisors voted to continue the hearing to Feb. 8 with the objective of checking the plan’s progress midway through the 90-day emergency period.

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