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Politics & Policy

Supervisors to vote on continuing Tenderloin Center services

James Pace, an unhoused San Franciscan, chats with friends outside the Tenderloin Center, which he frequents daily, in San Francisco on June 17, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

The Nov. 8 Board of Supervisors meeting should be an expedient one, as the city’s politicos—including a few supervisors—likely have election events to get to. 

Tuesday’s agenda mostly looks like housekeeping, but there will still be hot potatoes in the mix. Those include the ongoing saga of the Tenderloin Center, and more sparring between Mayor London Breed and supervisors on housing policy at the mayor’s monthly appearance before the board. 

Tenderloin Center Resolution

Malici “Ki” Ortiz waits in line for services outside the Tenderloin Center in San Francisco on June 17, 2022. His wrists are adorned with wristbands from previous visits to the center. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

The board is set to vote on a resolution by Supervisor Dean Preston “to ensure no gap in services for the hundreds of people served daily by the Tenderloin Center”—essentially asking that the controversial center either stay open, or have a replacement in place by Dec. 31.

The Tenderloin Center, originally known as the Linkage Center and opened in January 2022 under Mayor London Breed’s Tenderloin emergency declaration, is set to close by the end of the year

Initially described as a center to link people with drug addiction and the unhoused to services, the center became a de facto safe consumption site. 

According to a government dashboard, the Tenderloin Center has had 112,562 visits of one kind or another since it opened in January. Of those, only 1,853 yielded requests for behavioral health services, and 356 visitors “linked” to those services. Meanwhile, 285 overdoses have been reversed at the center. 

The center also provides meals and other basic necessities, along with respite from the street and harm reduction services. 

Under a recently announced Office of Overdose Prevention, the city plans to replace the facility with at least two “wellness hubs,” along with expanded naloxone distribution. With that new office, the city set a goal of reducing overdose deaths by 15% by 2025. 

The resolution, co-sponsored by Supervisors Hillary Ronen, Connie Chan and Aaron Peskin along with Board President Shamann Walton, will increase the pressure on Breed to have the replacement wellness hubs up and running by the end of the year. 

Quizmaster Chan: Housing and Homelessness

Supervisor Connie Chan questions the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Sean Elsbernd at a hearing about resignation letters at City Hall in San Francisco on Oct. 11, 2022. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Supervisors will likely vote on Preston’s resolution toward the end of session, but the meeting could begin with some fireworks as well.

Breed is set to make her regular appearance before the board, colloquially called “Question Time.” Chan has questions ready on “housing and services for the unhoused,” according to the line item. 

According to a City Hall source, the supervisor has a bone to pick with the mayor on homelessness services specific to her district. Chan has complained in the past about her district being pushed back in the queue for services such as ambassadors. 

Chan is also butting heads with the mayor on an important ballot issue: Chan was the main sponsor of Proposition E, an alternate plan for streamlining affordable housing production that competes directly with Breed-based Proposition D.