The relocation of at least a dozen people living in tents on sidewalks in the Tenderloin on Thursday to area hotels appears to be part of a settlement just announced between UC Hastings — which sued the city last month over the increasing level of squalor in the neighborhood — and the City of San Francisco.
The settlement, which includes a "stipulated injunction," calls for the removal of 300 tents, as KPIX reports, and 300 was the number noted by HOT team members on Thursday as the stated goal of the latest effort. This also represents 70 percent of the camps counted in a census last week, and the city is pledging to remove the 300 tents by July 20 — relocating individuals either to hotel rooms, shelters, or "safe sleeping villages" that have been established in several locations, where tent camping is permitted.
And after that July 20 deadline, per KPIX, the city has agreed to make "all reasonable efforts to achieve the shared goal of permanently reducing the number of tents on Tenderloin sidewalks to zero."
As the Chronicle reports, the city also agreed to "discourage additional people from erecting tents in the neighborhood," and it says something about vague "enforcement measures" for people who refuse relocation.
The litigation against the city could still resume if the Board of Supervisors votes not to accept the settlement, or if the city fails in its pledges.
Previously, in early May, UC Hastings officials blasted the city for its announced effort to clean up the neighborhood by relocating tents a few blocks away to the "village" next to the Asian Art Museum. Illegal tent encampments had begun filling sidewalks all over the area, spilling down onto McAllister Street where the law school has several buildings. The lawsuit was filed on May 4 in collaboration with the Tenderloin Merchants and Property Association.
"The plan is just more talk. We need action, not talk," said UC Hastings law chancellor and dean David Faigman in a statement in early May. "We need the tents and the drug dealers removed and the unhoused moved to safe and temporary housing, such as large tents or other shelter, until a permanent solution is accomplished."
In a joint statement with the school, Mayor London Breed said Friday, "COVID-19 has impacted many communities in our City, but we know that the Tenderloin has been particularly hard-hit. We share the concerns that UC Hastings and residents of the Tenderloin have about what’s happening in the neighborhood, and we look forward to working collaboratively to implement the Stipulated Injunction so we help our unsheltered residents off the streets and into safer environments."
The city has hundreds of already leased and prepared hotel rooms for use in housing vulnerable homeless individuals, and other homeless people in need of safer isolation space. But this initiative specifically pertains the blocks of the Tenderloin around UC Hastings, and does not specify any criteria for homeless campers to get hotel space.
The Board of Supervisors will, more than likely, question why some homeless individuals will get automatically sheltered in hotels in order to appease UC Hastings, while others in other parts of the city who are equally susceptible to contracting COVID-19 will not get relocated.