SAN FRANCISCO—On Friday, June 12, the city of San Francisco reached a settlement agreement with the University of California Hastings College of Law, the Tenderloin Merchants and Property Owners Association, and co-plaintiffs Fallon Victoria, Rene Denis, Randy Hughes, Kristen Villalobos. The settlement involves the removal of up to 300 tents and encampments in the Tenderloin District by July 20. The Tenderloin District is a neighborhood in downtown San Francisco that spans approximately 50 city-blocks.
UC Hastings, the Tenderloin Merchants and Property Owners Association, and Victoria, Denis, Hughes and Villalobos filed the lawsuit against the city and county of San Francisco on May 4. According to a press release, the purpose of the lawsuit was to seek remedy “for the Tenderloin’s dangerously crowded sidewalks and to provide safe and sanitary shelter for the unhoused people who have been camping there in escalating numbers since the outbreak of COVID-19.”
In the initial lawsuit, a count conducted by a local non-profit called Urban Alchemy found that the number of makeshift dwellings and tents went from 158 on March 3, 2020 to 391 on May 1, 2020. The lawsuit states that the tents blocked the sidewalks, impeding pedestrians’ travel. It also alleges that the San Francisco Police Department “has been directed not to remove or disturb those tents.”
The settlement states that while they will remove up to 70 percent of the encampments in the region, occupants will be relocated to hotel rooms, safe sleeping villages outside the Tenderloin District, or off-street sites such as parking lots in the area. The city of San Francisco will monitor the area in order to ensure that the encampments will not return to the Tenderloin District.
“All of the neighborhood merchants will be happy that the City is not only moving the tents, but getting the unhoused people into shelters,” said Rene Colorado. Colorado is the executive director of the Tenderloin Merchants and Property Owners Association, one of the plaintiffs in the civil suit.
The settlement will be finalized once it is approved by the San Francisco Board of Directors.