With the closure of the Tenderloin Center, a safe drug-use site, the city is now grappling with how to address its drug crisis moving forward. With the mayor and supervisors pitted against each other in a battle to open more sites—or none at all.
Supervisors say safe use sites are essential for stopping rampant overdose deaths, but the Mayor’s Office says the federally illegal sites could cause the city huge legal problems.
Caught in the middle of the debate are everyday residents living in the Tenderloin and SoMa—the worst affected neighborhoods.
The Standard commissioned photos of what living at the epicenter of the crisis is like.
Jennifer Friedenbach has worked in the Tenderloin for 27 years and is the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness.
Friedenbach said the Tenderloin is the most impoverished neighborhood in the city and has had drug issues for decades.
“If affluent people are moving into an impoverished neighborhood, they should know what they are getting into,” Friedenbach said during an interview in the Coalition’s offices on Turk Street.
Friedenbach said that despite the neighborhood’s issues, it’s a tight-knit community that’s politically engaged.
“I think it is also a caring community,” Friedenbach said. “They know their supervisor, they have spoken at City Hall.”
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