A United Site Services handwashing station at Haight and Ashbury streets in March was completely out of soap.

S.F. Contractor Repeatedly Failed to Service Hygiene Stations

In the early months of the pandemic, a San Francisco contractor in charge of supplying and servicing hygiene stations for homeless residents consistently failed to maintain the sites, despite repeated requests from staff at two city agencies that the company clean, fill or service them, according to dozens of emails between city staff and the contractor acquired by the San Francisco Public Press via public records request.

Devon Tartee stands outside the city-sanctioned tent camp at 180 Jones St. where he has lived for the past two weeks. Brian Howey / San Francisco Public Press

S.F. Places More Than 250 Homeless Tenderloin Residents in Hotels

San Francisco social workers had placed 264 homeless Tenderloin residents in hotel rooms as of Wednesday morning as part of a two-week push to remove most of the neighborhood’s homeless tents. The city initiative comes in the wake of complaints from neighbors, outrage from city supervisors and a May lawsuit against the city by the University of California Hastings College of the Law over deteriorating Tenderloin conditions. Since the city began placing people in hotel rooms June 10, staff have averaged about 29 hotel placements per weekday. Jeff Kositsky, manager of the Healthy Streets Operations Center, the city’s multi-department homelessness task force leading the initiative, confirmed via text message that the city would not place anyone in hotels Wednesday, adding that he was unavailable for further comment on the city’s progress. Workers also moved an additional 10 homeless people from street camps into city-sanctioned tent encampments like one at 180 Jones St., a collection of a couple dozen tents surrounded by chain link fencing in the Tenderloin.

A march for racial justice and against police killings moves down Market Street at Van Ness Avenue on June 19, 2020. Brian Howey / Public Press

Demonstrators March Through San Francisco to Mark Juneteenth

Hundreds marched through San Francisco on Friday afternoon to mark Juneteenth, protesting police killings and calling for racial justice. The San Francisco Public Press followed the demonstration, which made its way from the Ferry Building to City Hall and then on to the school district building. Read updates from the march below, and hear a compilation of reflections from demonstrators in this recent episode of our radio program and podcast, “Civic.”

4:25 p.m.

With some 250 protesters still in front of the school district administrative building on Franklin Street, Indigenous dancers performed a ceremony while protesters sat and knelt. Lexi Hall sang “Lean On Me” with some demonstrators occasionally chiming in for the chorus. 

“I think it’s definitely important for the youth to be a voice for the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Hall. “And we all came together, all of the creatives in San Francisco to put on a show and celebrate Juneteenth for the city.”

Hall’s partner, 19-year-old rapper Xanubis, had performed several times at the march that day. Xanubis and Lexi Hall.

Jeff Kositsky, at left, talks to Rescue Captain Michael Mason at Golden Gate Ave. and Leavenworth St., where homeless outreach staff placed 24 people in hotels June 17. Brian Howey / San Francisco Public Press

Behind the Tent Flap: Voices From the Streets of the Tenderloin

City workers have moved more than 140 homeless Tenderloin residents into hotel rooms and city-sanctioned tent encampments over the last eight days in response to a legal settlement between San Francisco and the University of California Hastings College of the Law. The agreement requires the city to remove the majority of homeless tents from the neighborhood by late July, with the goal of eventually reducing the tents, which numbered 415 on June 5, according to a city count, to zero. That tent count doesn’t include the more than 20 tents at a city-sanctioned encampment at 180 Jones Street. The plan specifies no timeline for reaching a tent count of zero. As of Thursday afternoon, the homeless outreach team, fire department, public works and police had placed between 149 and 174 people in hotels, said Jeff Kositsky, manager of the Healthy Streets Operations Center, the multi-agency homelessness task force spearheading the operation.

A homeless person sits under a blanket next to a cluster of tents in the Tenderloin May 13. Noah Arroyo / San Francisco Public Press

Nonprofits Want Added Homeless Protections in UC Hastings Lawsuit Against S.F.

Three nonprofit groups have asked to be included in a lawsuit against San Francisco by the University of California Hastings law school and a Tenderloin business group over the worsening conditions in the neighborhood since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Their aim: ensuring homeless people’s needs are considered during negotiations on how to address the issue. If granted, the motion would add the Coalition on Homelessness, homeless shelter Hospitality House and homeless services provider Faithful Fools as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in May. That would allow them to challenge some of the university’s complaints against the city, which the three groups say ignore the interests of unhoused residents and classify them as a public nuisance. The groups believe the latter classification could lead to the city performing sweeps, or issuing move-along orders and confiscating belongings from homeless residents, said Lauren Hansen, the Public Interest Law Project attorney representing the service providers.

Amoeba Music in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against San Francisco over a sanctioned homeless encampment. Sarah Nichols / CC BY-SA 2.0

Businesses to Drop Lawsuit Against S.F. Over City-Sanctioned Homeless Camp

After backlash from neighbors, activists and others, several Haight-Ashbury businesses plan to drop a federal lawsuit against San Francisco for its placement of an approved homeless encampment at Haight and Stanyan streets. The plaintiffs plan to withdraw the suit Monday or Tuesday, Joe Goldmark, the partner-manager of record vendor Amoeba Music’s Haight-Ashbury location, said by phone Monday morning. In addition to Amoeba, plaintiffs include Escape From New York Pizza and the Concerned Citizens of the Haight, a newly formed neighborhood association. A statement from the Concerned Citizens noted that members of the group “still have health and safety concerns, and believe that there are more appropriate sites than directly adjacent to a residential/commercial neighborhood and opposite a preschool. We hope that the City will honor their commitment to use this site for 3-6 months only.”

“We’re moving on, and I don’t have any further comments at this time,” Goldmark said.


Homeless Clamor for Safe Camp Sites While Over 1,000 Hotel Rooms Go Unused

Demand among homeless San Franciscans for the 40 slots the city is making available in its Haight-Ashbury safe camping site has outstripped supply, even as more than 1,000 hotel rooms and trailers meant for vulnerable residents sit empty. Around 60 people have requested to stay at the site, which has space for only 40 tents, said Mary Howe, director of the Homeless Youth Alliance.