Tenderloin Rises Up Against UC Hastings Lawsuit

For Immediate Release

June 23, 2020

Press Contact: 

Jennifer Friedenbach 1(415)577-9799 jfriedenbach@cohsf.org 


Tenderloin Rises Up Against UC Hastings Lawsuit

Community members, students, and  organizations protest the offensive move by UC Hastings to clear black and brown residents from tent encampments in middle of the pandemic

When:     3:00 pm Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Where:    UC Hastings, northeast corner of Hyde and McAllister

What:     Defund the Police, Stop UC Hastings: Black Unhoused Lives Matter protest taking place in front of UC Hastings to protest their lawsuit to clear all tents from the deeply impoverished black and brown Tenderloin district of San Francisco.  

San Francisco —  Protest to unequivocally state that Black Unhoused Lives Matter, demand that SFPD be defunded and abolished, and hold UC Hastings responsible for their recent lawsuit against the unhoused residents of the Tenderloin on June 23.  Protests will have a rally, followed by a march from UC Hastings to the Tenderloin’s SFPD Station. 

The rally will highlight Black housed and unhoused speakers from the Tenderloin to shed light on their experiences in a city that overwhelmingly criminalizes homelessness. Given recent conversations about police violence, it must be noted that policing homelessness will always result in racialized policing. Over 37% of San Francisco’s homeless population is composed of Black residents despite only making up 6% of the city’s demographic. Historic police enforcement of homelessness through citations, move along orders, and daily harassment has no place in our city and must be stopped – SFPD responds to over 50,000 calls regarding the presence of an unhoused person or psychiatric crisis a year . 

On May 4th, UC Hastings filed a lawsuit demanding the city “end the dangerous and illegal conditions” in the Tenderloin by removing tent encampments but failed to identify adequate solutions for the over 2,000 unhoused San Franciscans in the neighborhood, beyond displacement and a small number of alternative housing placements. An unapproved settlement between Mayor Breed and UC Hastings Chancellor David Faigman stipulates that just 18% of the Tenderloin unhoused will be moved to hotels and safe shelter villages while the remainder will be subject to “enforcement measures” in order to reach Faigman’s goal of “clear[ing] the streets.” This settlement is in direct contradiction to CDC guidelines on the COVID-19 pandemic that states “If individual housing options are not available, allow people who are living unsheltered or in encampments to remain where they are. Clearing encampments … increases the potential for infectious disease spread.”

“UC Hastings has chosen human removal over human rights – a dangerous precedent. Now is the time for more justice – not more racism,” wrote Joe Wilson, Executive Director of Hospitality House. It is clear that the lawsuit places the public health of housed residents and businesses over the public health of the homeless community. Despite Mayor Breed calling for a reform to end police responses to non-criminal activities, community organizations have already witnessed an increased police presence in the Tenderloin as a result of this settlement.  

The Coalition calls for these senseless actions to be stopped and real housing solutions made available. Out of SFPD’s $700,000,000 budget, funds must be reallocated to expand affordable housing measures such as permanent supportive housing and vouchers, develop humane shelters and safe sleeping sites, and provide behavioral and mental health services to those in the black community in need. 

In an open letter to Chancellor Faigman signed by over 125 UC Hastings students and alumni, they write “Increased police presence will only exacerbate the criminalization of [people experiencing homelessness] and evade the public health crisis UC Hastings allegedly seeks to address. The City has utterly failed its most vulnerable residents, and UC Hastings could better serve its community by suing to force the City to provide shelter and care.” Homelessness is not a crime – UC Hastings, Mayor Breed, and SFPD need to be held accountable. 

Co-sponsored by community organizations including POOR Magazine, Faith in Action Bay Area, Sunrise Bay Area, Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), House the Bay, Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), UC Hastings students, and the Coalition on Homelessness.