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Controversial Tenderloin Center to Shutter in December

Written by Annie GausUpdated at Jun. 16, 2022 • 12:17pmPublished Jun. 16, 2022 • 11:42am
Pedestrians and unhoused individuals stroll past the Tenderloin Center, formerly known as the Linkage Center at Civic Center in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

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The Tenderloin Center, which opened as part of Mayor London Breed’s emergency declaration to address drug-related deaths, is set to close at the end of the year. 

The mayor’s office confirmed the closure on Thursday. 

Formerly called the Linkage Center, the facility opened in January and was described as a place to connect those suffering from drug addiction or other issues with services such as treatment and housing referrals, and offered food and shower facilities.

Watch: Video Tour of the Inside of the Tenderloin Center

However, the site attracted scrutiny both from locals and some press for appearing to serve as a de facto supervised consumption site, which is not permitted under federal and state law. City contractors involved with the site described it as an “overdose prevention site” prior to its opening, according to an investigation by The Standard, while progress reports from the city described few service links. 

The city changed the facility’s name to the Tenderloin Center sometime this spring, and allowed press into the site for the first time two weeks ago.  

The Board of Supervisors voted last month to extend a lease for the Tenderloin Center through the end of the year, but the mayor’s budget does not include funding for the site beyond December. 

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The budget “matches the timeline” for the lease extension, said Parisa Safarzadeh, press secretary for Breed, in a statement. She added that the mayor’s emergency initiative will evolve beyond its initial form. 

“This extension gives additional time to evaluate the model and determine the long-term plan for providing critical services of overdose prevention and other health and human services support to the community,” Safarzadeh said. “The City will have more to share in the coming months about the next phase of the TEI, and how behavioral health and overdose prevention services will be provided to meet that critical need.”

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Annie Gaus can be reached at [email protected]


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