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S.F. To Remove Hundreds Of Homeless Encampments

San Francisco city officials agreed on Friday that the city will remove 70% of hundreds of tents crowding sidewalks in the Tenderloin district.

San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood

Per a deal struck between the city and a group of residents and businesses that includes UC Hastings College of the Law and the Tenderloin Merchants and Property Owners Association, S.F. will remove up to 300 tents and encampments from the Tenderloin neighborhood by July 20.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the plan on Friday.

In early May, a total of six plaintiffs, including four individuals, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the city and county of S.F.

Plaintiffs said they want to clear Tenderloin sidewalks and relocate homeless residents to safer and more sanitary shelter. People moved will go to hotel rooms secured by the city during shelter-in-place orders, sleeping villages outside of the Tenderloin or to other off-street sites, such as parking lots, in the Tenderloin, according to Breed's announcement. 

“COVID-19 has impacted many communities in our City, but we know that the Tenderloin has been particularly hard-hit," Breed said in a statement.

"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 Tenderloin saw a nearly 300% increase in tents between January and April coinciding with the city reducing homeless shelter capacity to accommodate social distancing, the Mercury News reports

That shelter capacity reduction is a decrease of up to 75%, according to Breed's announcement, which said that final approval of the settlement rests with a vote by the Board of Supervisors. 

San Francisco in general has faced a homelessness crisis that stretches further back than the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and beyond the confines of the Tenderloin. A count from early last year showed the city's homeless population up 17% from 2017. 

The Tenderloin Merchants and Property Owners Association board of directors unanimously voted to participate in the lawsuit after Hastings approached it, Executive Director Rene Colorado told Bisnow

"We're hopeful going forward that we're going to work well with the city and UC Hastings," Colorado said.