VISION 2020: FULL PLATFORM

The focus of this plan has been divided into six topic categories where residents were asked to envision solutions and identify immediate needs as well as a plan for the future of the Tenderloin neighborhood.  This plan is a working document that will allow for changes and updates as the outreach process continues and new ideas or challenges surface.  The six categories are:

1.    Community Improvement

2.    Economic Opportunity

3.    Housing and Homelessness

4.    Neighborhood Empowerment

5.    Arts and Culture

6.    Health and Wellness

     The solutions or recommendations that we have identified have been divided into these six categories where they seem most relevant and listed only once although as one might imagine some items span multiple topics as these are all intertwined and work together to form a complete vision.

COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT

The most frequently expressed concerns for the Tenderloin community are for resident’s sense of safety, cleanliness of our public spaces and lack of public amenities. To address some of these concerns residents have suggested these actions:

  • More open spaces that are welcoming and accessible to everyone.

  • Provide more resources to expand activities and services for adults at Boeddeker and other neighborhood parks.

  • Create additional community gardens, public rooftop green spaces and parklets.

  • Broaden sidewalks and redesign with livability in mind offering more public gathering space.  The sidewalks in the TL are often an extension of the living room for SRO residents.

  • Add bulb outs to all TL corners and ensure that ramps for disabled are installed on all curbs.

  • Lengthen the walk times at intersections in the TL to allow seniors and disabled sufficient time to cross the street safely.

  • A Dog Park in the TL neighborhood.

  • Provide strong funding and support for neighborhood block safety and resident cleaning groups.

  • Provide sufficient funding for City Clean Teams to expand personnel to levels necessary to keep area clean with emphasis on local TL hires.

  • Spray wash and clean all sidewalks throughout the TL daily.

  • Install secure needle disposal boxes on sidewalks throughout the area.

  • Install and maintain additional pet disposal bag stations.

  • End the City’s practice of using the TL as a “containment zone”.  The TL demands equitable enforcement and outreach efforts as other neighborhoods, perhaps even more as our need is greater.

  • More public bathrooms and an expansion of the TL Pitstop program with more locations and longer hours.  At least 1 or 2 stations that remain open with supervision 24 hours.

  • Fund and support additional Lava Mae shower facilities with more sites and additional times.

  • Identify and establish a couple of routes into and out of the TL where sidewalks are always kept clear and safe for seniors, disabled and children to come and go.

  • The TL wants to see beat police officers for every block.  Regular foot patrols are the best method of building partnerships and relationships with community members.

  • More public trash cans need to be installed throughout the TL.  We would like to see sufficient funding to also rapidly increase the number of Big Belly cans throughout the neighborhood as has been done in Yerba Buena and Union Square.

  • Create a special TL district and require all private trash bins, black and blue,  put out to the curb not be over-filled and must be locked and either fund or waive the fee charged to customer for locking cans.

  • Create a Tenderloin Neighborhood Watch program staffed by TL residents trained and paid by the city.

  • Remove Westfield mall and SOMA areas from the TL police district.  We feel too many resources from our station are being diverted to the mall and wealthy commercial interests leaving the deeper TL lacking in services.

  • Yellow dividing line down sidewalks to designate a lane where no stopping, loitering or blocking is allowed so that seniors, disabled and families can pass unobstructed.  In the other lane sitting or lying, etc. would be allowed.

  • Make this a Transit Oriented neighborhood for the future limiting the number of new parking spaces.  Where possible create more bike lanes, bike storage and larger pedestrian sidewalks. 

  • Use more street parking for neighborhood parklets funded by city at locations that can be well maintained and monitored by local businesses.

  • Funding and support for neighborhood cameras and monitoring for safety.  Link together into 1 neighborhood system.

  • Support Drug-free zones near schools, parks, afterschool programs and senior services.

  • Continue to improve lighting and visibility concerns in the area.

  • A Giant TL Lighted Christmas Tree for Boeddeker Park.  With most TL residents living in small units with little room for a tree of their own, this would be a great community asset. 

  • Press or Fund theatres like Golden Gate, Orpheum, etc. to offer 1 nights performance for each show at very low or free admission for TL residents.

  • A public performance stage with some paid programming and open times to feature TL residents and artists. 

  • We ask that DISH be made to remove the large stainless steel planters from the public right of way.  They create problems for disabled and seniors to pass and increase problems of safety and cleanliness. 

  • Explore Muni bus service on Taylor St. in order to provide equitable access to Huntington Park on the hill that is currently inaccessible to many TL residents despite being a few short blocks away.  This could also work to reduce traffic and lessen overcrowding on the on the current bus routes serving Chinatown and North Beach.

  • Immediate street and sidewalk surface repair.  Public facilities in the TL are not equitably or adequately maintained.  The TL wants full parity with areas such as Union Square or Marina.

  • Coordinate and provide free NERT training specifically targeting TL residents, seniors and disabled living in SROs or supportive housing.

 

Economic Opportunity

From jobs, local hire, and educational opportunities to start-up business opportunities, mom and pop business support and commercial investment, the TL is seeking greater inclusion in the massive boom and wealth of S.F.

  • Establish a well-funded TL Residential and Commercial Stabilization Fund.

  • Turn Eddy St. (or maybe Turk St.) into a special use commercial corridor (like Little Saigon) through various incentives, tax breaks, zoning and permitting changes, etc.  The TL has Larkin on the west side and Powell on the east side, but the TL needs a corridor running from east/west through the neighborhood.  Eddy Street runs from Powell Street Station past Boeddeker Park and on to the Van Ness corridor making it the ideal route for a commercial zone.

  • Open a TL Flea Market allowing residents to buy and sell new or used items and crafts without needing individual permits or reporting.

  • We still need a large full-scale grocery (6×6 ground floor is still empty).  Perhaps help to organize and establish a coop grocery.

  • Encourage or assist in the opening of more thrift and discount stores in the TL selling used items.

  •  Create a program and funding designed to specifically help TL residents open a small business in the TL.

  • Fund, develop, build and support pop-up street vendors booths in the TL for food, arts and crafts, flowers, etc.

  • “Twitter-style” tax break and incentives for any community serving business in the TL with emphasis on opportunities for TL residents.  Wave fees, expedite the permit process with as little delay or obstruction as possible, assign a staff person to walk them through the process, perhaps even subsidize rents, etc. for a period to let them get established.  Not for formula or chain businesses.

  • Sponsor a neighborhood-wide sidewalk sale day allowing anyone/everyone to set up and buy/sell used or new items without requiring permits, etc.

  • Free Neighborhood wide Wi-Fi.

  • Significantly increase GA benefit amount.

  • Library satellite branch on the NE side of the TL including computer lab.

  • Require all neighborhood businesses to hire at least 20% of staff from TL residents.

  • Provide resources and training to prepare TL residents for those jobs.

  •  Identify blocks or sections where zoning could be altered to allow 2nd floor or multi-floor commercial or office use to encourage investment.

  • Strengthen formula retail rules for TL and incentivize local community-serving retail.

  • Strive to make the TL and its commercial corridors a thriving, high-density, low-income neighborhood. Like a diverse version of Chinatown.

 

Housing and Homelessness

In the TL, as in all of S.F., the homeless crisis and rising cost of housing have reached historic levels.  TL residents are feeling the effects of this more than most communities because of a lack of resources and options while also serving the lion’s share of the homeless population and need.  Also, growing concerns of gentrification and displacement as well as the continuing loss of low-income housing like our SRO’s have raised the need for a proactive policy and plan for the neighborhood to remain welcoming to its current residents.

  • Explore “eminent domain” as a tool to take possession of unused property for use by homeless and homeless services.

  • Rental Registry listing all units rented/leased or empty and rent prices in SF.

  • Buy or take possession of multi-level parking garages as navigation style homeless shelters allowing people to “camp” in a parking space.  Add Porta-potties and rows of microwaves, etc. to each level. Showers and access to case managers or even laundry facilities could be added.  This is intended as an immediate emergency response to the housing crisis and not intended to be permanent.

  • Open/change zoning to allow boarding houses with shared rooms or beds for rent daily or weekly for cheap.  2-5 beds to a room could be provided with each bed having a small locker for use as well.  This type of housing once housed large numbers of the same folk we now force to stay on the street.

  • Institute a Vacancy Tax on all empty residential and commercial space.

  • Offer tax break incentives and payments to any property owner or landlord allowing city access of empty units to house homeless and even to house shelter waitlist per night.

  • Allow any SRO resident that wants to have a roommate.  Including in the supportive and subsidized housing.  Allow 2 residents to an SRO room.

  • Upward mobility pipeline expansion and coordination.  We should be moving folks who have stabilized out of supportive housing into more permanent stable housing opening up supportive units for homeless.

  • Establish “Wet Houses” or even wet floors in existing shelters to allow intoxicated people or even allows using/drinking to provide safe shelter rather than forcing them to stay on the street.

  • Expand significantly the Hot Team personnel and resources and make 24-hour teams.

  • Hire and train TL residents as a community version of Hot Team offering connections to services and info right in their own neighborhoods.

  • Redefine affordable housing and subsidies to allow very low-income (SSI) folks to qualify for inclusionary units.

  • Support small, medium and larger-sized building acquisitions and transfer to non-profits removing them from the speculative market.

  • Strengthen, not weaken Rent Control protections.

  • Explore Cooperative model for SRO residents to “own” their unit.

  • Create small cubicles rentable and really affordable for homeless people so they don’t have to sleep outside.

  • Improve the mailing address/general delivery system for homeless in TL. 

  • Provide free or near-free daily lockable storage bins for homeless to secure their things allowing them to more easily travel and access services during the day.

  • Support, pass and fully institute the “Our City, Our Home” plan to address severe housing insecurity.

  • Declare a “State of Emergency” on homelessness and bring all possible resources to the table.  No more business as usual.

  • Daytime walk-in chill shelter where homeless can rest/eat/use microwaves/do laundry/etc. during daytime hours.  Can also use as opportunity to connect folks with other services.  Add supervised consumption on site as well and include mental health professionals.

  • Mark off “Good Neighbor Sites” on sidewalks with an assigned “address” number.  Homeless can “Lease” (free) a site by signing a “Good Neighbor Agreement” promising to not block throughway of sidewalk, keep area clean, no open drug use (nearest safe location suggested) and generally act as a good neighbor.  In exchange is the promise to not harass or criminalize homeless, welcome them as a legitimate neighbor and part of the community, allowed to receive mail to nearest participating address, perhaps offered additional services, incentives or stipends for responsible participation.

  • Expand local subsidies programs to cover SSI level folks to live in other rental property settings while still remaining at 30% of income rents for studio and 1 bedroom.

  • Change pass through laws on rent controlled units in order to prevent massive rent increases and displacement.

  • Institute immediate policy changes and legislation to prevent any further loss of our private SRO stock in the TL (and city).  This is an irreplaceable and invaluable part of our housing for the most vulnerable of residents and we are losing more of these units every day.

 

Neighborhood Empowerment

 As a low-income neighborhood suffering from a lack of resources, we also suffer from a lack of agency and influence in the decisions that affect our daily lives.  TL residents are working on a plan to increase their collective voice and restore their claim to determine their own futures.

  • Establish a Tenderloin Community Council made of TL residents elected by TL residents to act as a conduit to the City and specifically the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development allowing residents to represent the neighborhood on issues affecting them rather than CEO’s and non-profits, etc. that claim to speak for the community.  We think a group such as the Tenderloin People’s Congress could also be an option to serve in this role.

  • TL Participatory Budgeting Process with a City (and private) funded amount to be used for projects suggested and voted on by the TL residents themselves as has been done in other districts of SF.  (Based on Chicago model).

  • A neighborhood improvement fund should be generated through contributions from new developments in the area similar to the SOMA Stabilization fund.

  • Provide a City sponsored training and outreach for TL residents on the city’s budgeting process to encourage resident participation at city hall.

  • Monthly neighborhood town hall meeting with our District 6 Supervisor.

  • Semi-annual neighborhood town hall meeting in the TL with our Mayor.

  • Assigned staff member from planning, resources and funding to assist the TPC in creating a new Tenderloin area plan, “Tenderloin Vision 2020 & Beyond”.

 

Arts and Culture

The TL has a full, colorful, diverse and rich history.  From the huge number of artists calling the TL home, to being the center of the Theater District, to home of the first LGBTQ movement and community in America, to the most diverse population of immigrants and minorities, the TL is truly a one of a kind neighborhood not only in SF but in all of America.  These are some ideas to celebrate that history and embrace the full diversity of our culture.

  • There should be a Tenderloin Cultural Festival for the weekend, like Chinatown, North Beach or Castro to celebrate our multi-cultural, multi-gender, diverse and vibrant low-income community.

  • Make the TL a cultural or historic district.  The TL has long been a home for low-income workers, immigrant families, persecuted and marginalized communities and communities of color.  Establish a cultural or historic district based on our identity as the most diverse 49 square blocks in America.  This would also bring additional resources and protections to the neighborhood.

  • Create more walking tours, interactive historical sites and media to share TL stories and history.  Both cultural history programs for the public, but also as a historical lesson for children in TL public schools highlighting stories of immigrants, LGBTQ, minorities and the arts.

  • Support for a TL Cultural, Arts and Performance Center.  This also would provide space for community meetings, art gallery and perhaps an art coop store. 

  • Provide funding for more art projects and cultural programming throughout the TL.

  • Restore and encourage more new neon signs in the neighborhood to help create a TL identity.

 

Health and Wellness

The single greatest indicator of life expectancy in America is your zip code.  With such a large portion of the TL population being seniors, disabled, low or no income, immigrant and working poor, the TL suffers from the lack of access to health services including primary care, mental health, substance abuse treatment and healthy food options.

  • Detox/Recovery on demand.  Nobody should ever be turned away when seeking treatment.  Detox sites allow people supervised rest, counseling and support as they await an opening in an inpatient facility.

  • Safe Consumption small satellite Sites at locations where services to that population are already provided.  Frequent and spread out sites throughout the city and in all neighborhoods.

  • Additional sites offering HEP C and HIV testing.  DPH should sponsor a mobile site in the TL.

  • Additional Community clinics needed to provide dental and eye care for low-income TL residents.

  • Substantially increase funding and support for the Healthy Corner Store Coalition to convert corner stores into healthier markets for residents.

  • Establish a subsidized kitchen/restaurant that can make and sell $2 or $3 healthy food items and also excepts food stamps as payment.

  • Reduce the number of liquor licenses in the TL.

  • Limit the number of cannabis stores licensed in the TL to 2 or 3.

  • Increase money and programming for health education and disease prevention as well as prevention screenings.

  • Free or near-free routine and emergency walk-in vet services for pets of low-income TL residents.

  • Expand the options for holistic or alternative health treatments for low-income TL residents.

 

Perhaps individually many of these items won’t substantially change the daily life of TL residents but taken as a whole we believe that this would substantially improve the ability of TL residents to live and thrive.  It lays out a vision for our neighborhoods needs and our collective future as a community that provides both a plan for real improvements, but also to ensure that the TL remains the strong, diverse, vibrant and colorful community it is today.  This neighborhood must always be a welcoming neighborhood for new immigrants, working families, low or no-income, minorities, LGBTQ, disabled, seniors, people of color or just folks needing a fresh start.   This is a real community of people that care for each other, our neighborhood and our City.  Let’s make it a healthy, safe, clean and vibrant neighborhood for us all today and for tomorrow.