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City Visions: What's Driving Change in the Tenderloin?

Boeddeker Park Ribbon Cutting


Change has come to the Tenderloin, but how much of it is attributable to the recent tech boom? Using new strategies to engage locals and create innovative coalitions, groups that have been in the neighborhood for years are working to improve the health, safety and quality of life for those who live and work in the Tenderloin.  We explore the effects their efforts are having on this vibrant and sometimes troubled neighborhood.


*  Kevin Causey, President of the St. Francis Foundation and head of the Tenderloin Health Improvement Partnership.

*  Jason Cherniss, Captain of the Tenderloin Police District.

*  Hanmin Liu, President of the Wildflowers Institute, a nonprofit organization that helps communities define their cultural assets and which has implemented a program recognizing “hidden gems” of the Tenderloin.

*  David Schnur, Director of Housing Development at Community Housing Partnership.

Excerpts from the show

Kevin Causey: "We saw the opening of Boeddeker Park as a game changer.  And so we leaned in....  We are just trying to elevate life for everybody who currently lives in that neighborhood to make it a safe, happy, healthy place to live, work, raise your kids and ... have fun."

Jason Cherniss: "There's great opportunity right now in the Tenderloin to get things done....  My question in arriving a year and a half ago is what can we do to actually change the public safety picture in the Tenderloin.  I know it's not putting people in jail.  Now there may be a place for that and we certainly are doing it but I think we need to peel back the onion a little bit more and find out what we can be doing to improve public safety...."

Hanmin Liu:  "There is a series of really very wonderful creative spaces in the Tenderloin that are ...  not often visible from the outside....  If we don't make the creative culture explicit, what happens is it actually disappears....  It's [the artists'] works and their relationships, and it's the local residents themselves who are doing some pretty important work in making the Tenderloin a very, very unique place."

David Schnur:  "Housing becomes a very important platform to deal with health issues, to deal with a variety of social issues, personal issues.  Giving someone a place to live suddenly gives them a platform to solve their health issues and many other issues....  I think it's absolutely right as well that community involvement and community engagement is a really important strategy.  Our community organizing resident engagement program works with tenants to empower them because the experience of homelessness is profoundly disempowering to people and give them the sense that they can effect change in their community."