Outreach workers stand at a Tenderloin intersection wearing reflective vests and pulling a rolling cart with a sign reading “free COVID-19 vaccinations here.” This team administered 23 single-dose vaccines during an afternoon shift on Jul. 15, 2021.

Outreach Effort Brings Vaccines Directly to Tenderloin Streets

During the pandemic, Code Tenderloin has distributed everything from water to masks to food. With the arrival of the vaccine, they have collaborated with health care providers from the University of California, San Francisco and the nonprofit service provider Glide to try to overcome barriers to vaccination by walking the streets, offering immunizations on the spot.

A group of people pass by a tent pitched against the side of a freeway ramp.

Invest in Temporary, Permanent and Preventive Measures to House Homeless, Report Says

“Civic” spoke with Tomiquia Moss, founder and CEO of AllHome, a regional organization working to disrupt cycles of poverty and homelessness and to create more economic mobility for extremely low-income people. Moss describes the need for more investment across different interventions to reduce the pressure to prioritize those who have the most complex and chronic needs over those who could exit homelessness with shorter-term help, or over prevention strategies.

Two toilets sit on a movable trailer on a street in San FRancisco's Mission District.

City’s Popular Portable Toilets Frequently Moved or Closed

While the number of 24-hour Pit Stop public bathrooms increased 16-fold at the beginning of the pandemic, keeping them in place has proven to be a challenge. Many high-traffic Pit Stops — some used more than 1,000 times per month — are being relocated, and Supervisor Mat Haney wants to know why.

White boxes are painted on a stretch of asphalt, with each box containing a tent.

Housing Elusive for Residents of Haight’s Sanctioned Campsite

The site in an old McDonald’s parking lot at the edge of Golden Gate Park opened in May 2020 with 40 spots, becoming the city’s second sanctioned tent camp.

On June 16 it shuts down. The question now is where to move site residents, many of whom have called the Haight neighborhood home for decades and don’t want to leave.

A Homeless Outreach Team worker inspects a handwashing station and finds that it needs to be refilled in the summer of 2020, at a time when coronavirus health and safety guidelines emphasized hygiene, not masks, as the best method to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Pandemic Limited Shelter Options, Frustrating Homeless Outreach Workers

Members of San Francisco’s Homeless Outreach Team — also known as the “HOT team” — walk neighborhood beats to offer support, information and referrals to services to people living on the streets. During the pandemic the resources available, particularly shelters, changed significantly. Mark Mazza, outreach manager for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, talked with “Civic” about how those changes influenced the outreach team’s work.

Shireen McSpadden, Noelle Simmons, and Cynthia Nagendra, new leaders of San Francisco's homelessness agency.

Multiple Challenges Confront New Leaders at SF Homelessness Department

The selection of Shireen McSpadden to lead the city’s homelessness department is being greeted optimistically by officials who have dealt extensively with San Francisco’s chronic inability to find shelter for all its residents.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin and Joe Wilson, a prominent advocate for homeless people, said they were encouraged by the choice of McSpadden, who is set to take over May 1 — becoming the fourth person to hold the role in 14 months.

The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing was founded in 2016 by former Mayor Ed Lee, who consolidated programs that had been scattered throughout different departments and brought them all under one roof with the promise of ending homelessness for 8,000 San Franciscans in four years.

Chris Block speaks at a podium in front of a projector screen

SF Creates New Office Tasked With Relocating Homeless Hotel Residents

A new city agency, founded in the wake of rising concerns about the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing’s ability to house the city’s homeless population, aims to bring 2,000 people into permanent shelter by the end of the year.

The new Office of Housing Opportunities will be a division of the COVID Command Center, shifting responsibilities away from the Department of Homelessness. Chris Block, formerly the director of the chronic homelessness division at Tipping Point, a nonprofit focused on battling poverty and homelessness, is directing the effort.