Children drawing with chalk
Photo: Felix Uribe, Courtesy of Tenderloin Community Benefit District

Tenderloin Community Action Plan

The plan for San Francisco’s diverse and inclusive Tenderloin neighborhood. 

Stay up to date with our Winter 2024 Tenderloin Community Planning Initiatives newsletter!

Mission, vision, and commitments

Our mission is to bring Tenderloin community's voice into action and transform that action into reality through investments. Our vision is for the Tenderloin to transition out of a state of crisis into a neighborhood where residents have equitable access to improved quality of life and a diverse and vibrant neighborhood for all. We aim to achieve this through facilitating community-driven initiatives, cultivating new capacities, and interagency collaborations and investments.

The Tenderloin Community Action Planning (TCAP) a neighborhood-driven collaboration between residents, community organizations, businesses, non-profit partners, led by San Francisco Planning in close coordination with many other City agencies.

The TCAP includes three components:

  1. Community Action Projects funded by Mayor Breeds allocation of $4 million to the Tenderloin in June 2022 
  2. Strategic Priorities for investments in four areas: Small Business support, Youth services, Public space planning and activation, and housing
  3. An investment blueprint through community leadership

The effort aims to focus on the needs of the neighborhood’s diverse and vulnerable populations, including: Black, American Indian, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern/Arab,  immigrants, other communities of color,  low-income people, people living with disabilities, seniors, families with children, youth, LGBTQIA++, and unsheltered residents.

Background

The Tenderloin is a unique neighborhood with a range of perspectives, with the highest density of children in the city, and high concentrations of communities of color, seniors, people living with disabilities, artists, and community-based organizations and merchants. The neighborhood has long been a refuge for immigrants and the LGBTQ+ communities.

The Tenderloin has a long-standing history of activism and resiliency. The Uptown Historic District, the nation’s first Transgender District, North of Market Special Use District, and the Hotel Conversion Ordinance are a few examples of community-based efforts that preserve and protect affordable housing and tenants and celebrate the neighborhood’s diversity. Today, several community organizations and residents are continuing this tradition. Highlighting one of these achievements, the Tenderloin People’s Congress engaged over 1,200 community members in a conversation envisioning the neighborhood’s future in 2017, which resulted in the Vision 2020 Plan and sparked advocacy for San Francisco Planning to embark on a  Tenderloin Community Action Planning process in 2021.

On December 17, 2021, Mayor Breed declared an official 90-day State of Emergency in the Tenderloin, allowing the City to waive certain laws to more quickly respond to the conditions relating to the health and safety of the people in the neighborhood. As the operational lead, the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) drafted the Tenderloin Emergency Initiative (TEI). The TEI is a three-phase plan that outlines an initial assessment of conditions, crisis operations, and plans for sustained operations in the Tenderloin to help stabilize conditions on the street.

As the TEI transitioned from crisis response operations to sustained operations over the course of the year, San Francisco Planning was asked by community members to incorporate this third phase of TEI’s sustained operations into the Tenderloin Community Planning effort. At the same time, Mayor Breed allocated $4  million to the Planning Department to fund community-sponsored projects to improve living conditions for Tenderloin residents. 

A full reflection by San Francisco Planning on City and community collaboration in the Tenderloin in 2022 can be found here

Tenderloin Neighborhood Map

The Tenderloin Neighborhood Map shares the boundaries used by San Francisco Planning and Department of Public Health for data analysis and resource allocation (bounded by Market Street, Van Ness Avenue, Powell Street, and Post Street).

Click to enlarge
Map of Tenderloin boundaries

Between the summer of 2022 and the early months of 2023, SF Planning engaged in an extensive collaborative effort with the Tenderloin community through a participatory budgeting process to identify community-sponsored initiatives and prioritize the allocation of the $4 million approved by Mayor Breed.

  • July 2022 to March 2023: Tenderloin Community Action to Reality Community Action Projects
    • Programmed Mayor Breed’s allocated $4 million by design a Participatory Budgeting process
    • Tenderloin Participatory Budgeting outreach and voting
    • Selected 21 projects
    • developed funding mechanism in partnership with four other city agencies (MOHCD, OEWD, DPH, HSA) and one consultant (United Way Bay Area) to coordinate implementation

Since then, the team has been working closely with the sponsors of these community-driven projects to support the 21 selected Community Action Grant Projects, in partnership with various City departments and United Way Bay Area.

Starting the fall of 2023, we transitioned towards the implementation phase of these projects, set to materialize over the next two years, from April 2023 to June 2025:

  • April 2023 to April 2024: Tenderloin Community Voice to Action Strategic Priorities
    • Collaborate with community to develop investment strategies on Small Business, Housing, Youth, Public Space
    • Lead working group/interagency conversations to solidify a Tenderloin focused investment plan for the next budget cycle
    • Empower community leadership to advocate for investments
  • April 2024 to April 2025: Community Empowered Tenderloin Investment Blueprint
    • Sustain a community-led and Tenderloin focused investment advocacy
    • Expand priority investment areas shaping a blueprint for local and state funding priorities

View the Overall Project Timeline

Key Strategic Areas

Simultaneously, drawing from ideas that the community had put forth in prior engagements and outreach efforts, SF Planning identified four key strategic areas: small businesses support, activation of public spaces, investments in youth programs, and housing initiatives.

For each of these areas, SF Planning has formulated a timeline for key actions and deliverables with City partners and community stakeholders (forthcoming).

Snapshot of the front page of the Tenderloin Community Action Projects

In 2022, Mayor Breed’s approved $4 million for community-driven projects in the Tenderloin, an unprecedented dedication of resources resulting from years of community organizing. San Francisco Planning led a first-of-its-kind participatory budgeting process to program these funds with 1,400 residents and workers voting on community-sponsored proposals. The selected Community Action Projects aim to enhance public spaces, promote cultural events, support youth, and enhance wellness and access to essential needs in the Tenderloin. As of October 2023, Community Action Projects have either started services or will start popping up in the neighborhood this Fall 2023.  

The implementation of these projects are made possible by interagency and cross-sector collaboration that includes San Francisco Planning, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, Office of Economic Workforce Development, Department of Public Health, Human Services Agency, United Way Bay Area, as well as community leaders and entrepreneurs in the Tenderloin.

A detailed timeline of project implementation and services can be found the Timeline tab. A full detailed description of the participatory budgeting process including various steps of outreach and engagement is documented here. The results of the process were first announced in February 2023. A comprehensive brochure of the selected projects is also available here

Collaboration for Collective Impact

Cover of Tenderloin Community Action Plan Cohort Packet

Each individual project selected as a Community Action Grant recipient contributes to capacity building within the Tenderloin, bringing unique, creative, or essential projects to the neighborhood. Together as a cohort, project sponsors are collaborating across project categories, leveraging organizational resources and experience to build collective impact. Collective impact translates to better outcomes and deeper impact achieved because of synergistic developments within the cohort.

Collaboration for collective impact within the Community Action Grants cohort is grounded by regularly recurring cohort meetings. The first collective impact meeting of the cohort occurred on May 24, 2023. Community project sponsors shared their collaborative commitment to each other and the Tenderloin. A Resource Packet for Collaboration for the Community Action Projects Cohort is available here.& The cohort will meet again in December 2023 to update on their collaboration commitments.

As a community-driven effort, the TCAP has relied on a variety of outreach and engagement tools and approaches, ranging from most intensive engagement tools to empower community leadership and self-determination, targeted community collaboration on strategic priorities, community consultations and listening sessions; to less intensive outreach tools to inform the community on resources and initiatives. Below are some of the major themes of outreach and engagement as part of our work. 

Community voice landscape – Our team participates in many community-led meetings and events to continuously maintain the pulse of needs and issues in the neighborhood. These conversations helped shape the four strategic priorities and will continue to help identify areas where the community needs further interventions.  

Participatory engagement – The TCAP implemented a community-driven participatory budgeting process in Fall 2022 to inform programing the $4 million of Tenderloin funds. This first of its kind process relied on community sponsored and designed projects, and community votes to select projects to be implemented in the neighborhood. A full detailed description of the participatory budgeting process including various steps of outreach and engagement is documented here. 

Focus Groups – Our team formed and hosted focus groups conversations for two strategic priorities of small business support and youth services. The unique expertise or lived experience needed to shape the recommendations under these two priorities required bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders and community members under each of these topics. For a more detailed description of these focus groups please see the Strategic Priorities Tab.  

Working Groups – Starting Fall 2023, our team will facilitate shaping two working groups for two strategic priorities: housing and open space activation. An application process will help recruit a diversity of voices with lived experience and expertise on these issues.  

Open House – The Fall 2023 Update community event is the inaugural lunch of our broader report back to the community. The open house forum will provide a detailed update of our work, along with interactive information boards where community members can provide input on our progress. We expect to host our next open house in Spring 2024.  

In addition, through a partnership with Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, our team aims to augment our outreach and engagement with an intensive neighborhood level engagement.  TNDC will dedicate one staff to support our outreach and engagement and will also facilitate community leadership.

With support from expert consultants, as well community partners, and robust public engagement a final framework of this community leadership group will be developed. 

This effort is pursuing San Francisco Planning’s community stakeholder group discussions in the Fall of 2022. After the first few meetings of a Community Stakeholder Group (see Get Involved! tab), key stakeholders requested a re-thinking of its purpose and goals. The goals and structure of the Community Stakeholder Group (CSG) were grounded in an initial framework developed in Fall 2022. As a result of feedback on the CSG through several community discussions, San Francisco Planning developed a new, draft framework for a reconstitution of the CSG early in 2023. Meeting notes from the review of this draft framework by key stakeholders can be found here.

Years of engagement and outreach within the Tenderloin toward the development of the Tenderloin Community Action Plan enabled clear communication about community priorities for actions and investments in the neighborhood. These priorities have been distilled into four main strategic priorities: small business support, youth investments, public space and pedestrian improvements, and housing.

Small business

This priority reflects the community’s voting results during the Tenderloin participatory budgeting process, as part of the Tenderloin Community Action Plan, to build upon the diversity of the community and increase resources for small businesses.

In collaboration with Office of Economic And workforce Development, in the short term, this work aims to program $380,000 voted by Tenderloin community during the participatory budgeting process. Since summer 2023, Planning and OEWD staff have been collaborating with various community partners*. Through a series of constructive conversations and workshops, staff sought valuable guidance on shaping the City's resources towards making a positive impact in the Tenderloin community. Staff also engaged with business owners directly by participating in an event organized by Tenderloin Business Coalition, and by interviewing Vietnamese and Cantonese-speaking business owners with the support of SEACC, to ensure that our work addresses the concerns of business owners from diverse cultural backgrounds. Currently, SF Planning is working with OEWD to launch the funds to be accessible early 2024 by the Tenderloin small business community.

In the medium term, Planning aims to deepen engagement with small business owners whose first primary language is not English and to shape the annual investment portfolio of OEWD in the Tenderloin over the next couple of years. In the longer term, collaborating with agency and community partners, SF Planning hopes to leverage the small business organizing to activate the commercial corridors as a strategy to improve safety and quality of life for the Tenderloin neighborhood.

Small Business Project Timeline

Summer 2023

  • Engage with OEWD, small business support stakeholders and small business owners
  • Conduct small business corridor survey

Fall 2023

  • Finalize investment framework for small business support funding
  • Program funding into OEWD’s budget

Winter 2023-Spring 2024

  • Marketing funding programs and distribute funding Tenderloin small business community

Spring-Summer 2024

  • Monitor funding and implementation with stakeholders
  • Reprogram funding to meet community needs if necessary

Small Business Support Stakeholders that SF Planning has been collaborating include Tenderloin Community Benefit District, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, South-east Asian Community Center, New Community Leadership Foundation, Tenderloin Merchant Association, Arab Grocers Association.

More detailed information of our work in this area can be found here.

Youth investments

The Tenderloin has one of the highest concentrations of children and youth in San Francisco, especially from immigrant families. The open-air drug market and use on the streets of the Tenderloin leave youth more vulnerable and exposed to the drug scene at the margins. In conversations with youth providers and experts, we have learned that investing in youth, and especially disconnected youth, in the Tenderloin may require elevating certain priorities.

The Department of Children, Youth, and their families (DCYF) launched a request for proposals for the 2024-2029 five-year funding cycle for children, youth, transitional age youth (TAY) and their families in August. In a partnership with DCYF, our team is conducting a neighborhood-specific analysis of gaps and priorities for youth investments. The results will inform the to support DCYF in decision-making for program grants awarded to serve Tenderloin children, youth, TAY, and their families.

Youth Investments Project Timeline

Summer-Fall 2023

  • Engage with DCYF, youth service providers, parents, teens and transitional-age youth Fall 2023 

Fall-Winter 2023

  • Finalize Tenderloin Youth Services Gap Analysis
  • Inform DCYF 2024-29 five-year funding cycle program investments in the Tenderloin

Spring-Summer 2024

  • Support service providers and the City to create new or adjust existing programs to meet the unique needs of TL youths

As of October 2023, The team has completed interviews with youth service providers and focus groups with connected and disconnected youth. Currently the team is organizing in-language focus groups with parents of Tenderloin youth to better understand the context and needs of young people in the neighborhood. More detailed information of our work in this area can be found here.

Public Space Improvements and Activation

This effort will focus on “Placemaking” in the Tenderloin through public space improvements and activations. A placemaking approach could be a powerful complement to enforcement and health services interventions by creating positive experiences deterring drug dealing and use on the sidewalks, and improving public safety, and quality of life. We aim to coordinate placemaking interventions with increased public safety enforcement from various agencies, as a neighborhood recovery strategy. In this way, we could replace drug related activities with positive neighborhood serving events and improvements. The placemaking strategy is organized around four focus areas:  

  1. First is to include alleys in the public space network of the Tenderloin by transforming them into school streets, mini-parks, mini-plazas, or special events places. The goal is to increase the open space in the neighborhood.  
  2. Second is to improve specific commercial corridors, in coordination with our small business support efforts, to increase the neighborhood quality of life and strengthen business health by increasing foot traffic.  
  3. Third is rethinking neighborhood entrances as welcoming gateways offering opportunities for special activities, art, and signage.  
  4. The fourth and last focus area is to transform currently under-utilized lots into neighborhood hubs with recreational activities for Tenderloin residents. In the coming months, all these ideas will be explored through pilot projects, community conversations and by forming a community working group in collaboration with interagency partners.

More detailed information of our work in this area can be found here.

Housing

Building on the Housing Element process and Home by the Bay Plan, the Tenderloin team identified community priorities from past outreach events, the Tenderloin Community Survey, and through conversations with community organizations and housing providers. These priorities are:

  1. Improve and maintain conditions of existing deeply affordable housing assets. Existing stock of deeply affordable units are at varying degrees of quality. Poor unit quality is one reason unhoused individuals reject housing offers or eventually exit their housing units back to homelessness.
  2. Protect vulnerable residents at most risk of homelessness. There is a high concentration of vulnerable residents, such as seniors, youth, individuals living with disabilities, and families with children, living in the Tenderloin. Tenderloin residents are the lowest wage earners in comparison to other San Francisco residents, therefore have a higher likelihood of facing eviction and require more protections and subsidies to stabilize them.
  3. Preserve affordability of existing assets through acquisition. Tenderloin’s housing stock consists of SROs and multifamily buildings that have lower price points compared to the rest of the city. The City’s acquisition strategy, including State investments such as Project Homekey, has intended to distribute these assets throughout the City and avoid concentrating these resources further in the Tenderloin. Tenderloin also is home to many SRO units in master leased properties in state of disrepair due to the ownership and operations structure.
  4. Expand on-site case management services, especially behavioral health and substance use. A large portion of PSH and SRO residents struggle with mental health issues and increasingly substance use disorders. Formerly unhoused individuals also require intensive care to be able to live indoors. The ratios of service providers to residents are currently low at many of these units which results in many incidents, damages, and challenges in the PSH buildings.
  5. Improve access to affordable housing suitable for families with children and Transitional Aged Youth.The Tenderloin's diverse population is uniquely comprised of special populations, which include families with children and Transitional Aged Youth, populations that are generally ignored when building housing.
  6. Reduce vacancies in existing permanent supportive housing disorder addressing vacancy in supportive housing. High vacancy rates in PSH has been a highly discussed multi-faceted issue. Poor unit conditions is one of the main reasons for high vacancy as discussed under Priority 1. Other factors include long processing delays from the Coordinated Entry System as well as high staff turnover. Street conditions also play a major role in high vacancies.

More detailed information of our work in this area can be found here. In partnership with agency partners, and through shaping a working group, our team will delve deeper into these priorities and investment solutions to activate solutions.

Housing Project Timeline

Summer 2023

  • Housing Element Outreach: Activating Community Priorities
  • Compile feedback from outreach event
  • Validate feedback with housing partners

Fall 2023

  • Meet with City Agencies to discuss Tenderloin Housing Partners

Winter 2023-Spring 2024

  • Continue to engage with housing partners on priorities

Spring-Summer 2024

  • Review potential housing legislation and budget that impact the TL

Street Conditions

The Joint Field Operations (JFO) is a multi-departmental effort to improve street conditions in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The JFO began in January of 2022 in response to the Tenderloin Emergency Initiative. At the time, the JFO was intended to be a short-term approach to supporting individuals experiencing homelessness or struggling with substance use disorders to access resources and treatment and the Tenderloin Center (TLC). Upon the closure of the TLC, the JFO became an ongoing approach to service-linkage with a continuing component of street cleaning. The JFO functions seven days per week from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and is staffed by many city departments including the San Francisco Fire Department, SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Department of Public Health, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Police Department, and the Department of Emergency Management.

You can learn more about the geography of JFO activity and view the monthly calendar listed below.

Joint Field Operations Calendar for November 2023

March 1 - Quadrant 1
March 2 - Quadrant 2
March 3 - Quadrant 3
March 4 - Quadrant 1
March 5 - Quadrant 2
March 6 - Quadrant 3
March 7 - Quadrant 4
March 8 - Quadrant 1
March 9 - Quadrant 2
March 10 - Quadrant 3
March 11 - Quadrant 1
March 12 - Quadrant 2
March 13 - Quadrant 3
March 14 - Quadrant 4
March 15 - Quadrant 1

March 16 - Quadrant 2
March 17 - Quadrant 3
March 18 - Quadrant 1
March 19 - Quadrant 2
March 20 - Quadrant 3
March 21 - Quadrant 4
March 22 - Quadrant 1
March 23 - Quadrant 2
March 24 - Quadrant 3
March 25 - Quadrant 1
March 26 - Quadrant 2
March 27 - Quadrant 3
March 28 - Quadrant 4
March 29 - Quadrant 1
March 30 - Quadrant 2
March 30 - Quadrant 4

In March 2023, the Department of Public Health launched a reconfigured neighborhood-based street response team called Bridge Engagement Services Team (BEST) Neighborhoods. The team provides trauma-informed behavioral health assessment, engagement, and community-based therapeutic interventions 7 days a week, with a focus on clients who are unhoused, diagnosed with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorder, and who are disconnected from the health care system. BEST Neighborhoods currently has two teams working primarily in the Tenderloin, SoMa, Mission, Castro, and Haight Ashbury areas. The team is currently ramping up staffing and will eventually provide services in neighborhoods across San Francisco.

San Francisco Planning’s Tenderloin team is committed to serving as a stronger conduit to elevate community priorities in addressing the street conditions in the neighborhood. The team will work to empower the community to better understand progress on the streets, including the revamp of the data dashboard.

Community planning has the best outcomes when people with a broad range of perspectives and experiences contribute to the conversation. 

The Tenderloin team will be working with community partners to host community conversations to engage Tenderloin residents and neighborhood groups in ongoing initiatives.  

To receive the Tenderloin Team newsletter, please sign up for email delivery. Past Newsletters can be found below:

Past Meetings

Other Meetings and Events

Fall 2023 Update: Community Event
October 5, 2023

Participatory Budgeting Workshops
November 10, 2022 – In-Person at Boeddeker Clubhouse
November 3, 2022 – Online

Planning Commission
October 20, 2022

Community Conversations
October 5, 2021

Past Community Stakeholder Group Meetings


2022, September 15 2022, October 18 2022, November 17

Governance Structure Working Sessions


2023, January and February