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San Francisco Board of Supervisors Approves Settlement Over Tenderloin Encampments

flickr user cultivar413 accessed via Creative Commons
150321 891 San Francisco - Olive St at Larkin St, Tenderloin District


On Tuesday, The San Francisco Board of Supervisors reluctantly approved a settlement with UC Hastings over tent encampments and unhealthy living conditions in the Tenderloin.

Earlier this year, the UC Hastings College of Law, along with residents and business owners in the Tenderloin, sued the city of San Francisco. The lawsuitsaid conditions were deplorable before COVID-19, but that the pandemic “exacerbated dangers and harms to those who live, work, and go to school in the Tenderloin.”

In June, they reached a settlement that compelled the city to remove 70% of the tents and relocate people to hotels and Safe Sleeping Villages. The Board had three months to approve it, which they did on Tuesday with apparent hesitation.

Some on the board were afraid that this settlement would set a precedent, and inspire copycat lawsuits outside of the Tenderloin. And in May, not long after Hastings filed their suit, residents in Haight Ashbury filed a lawsuit to stop the city from establishing a Safe Sleeping Village in their neighborhood.

The Coalition on Homelessness, which opposed the lawsuit says, that the settlement normalizes the “litigating away of the unhoused.”

Since the lawsuit was filed, the number of tents on Tenderloin sidewalks has been significantly reduced and more than 600 people have been rehoused — temporarily.

Noor Bouzidi is an intern with KALW. Her reporting interests are housing insecurity, immigration, economy, and all issues around systemic poverty in California.