‘Mission plan’ targets fires, street vending, homelessness and littering

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Supervisor Hillary Ronen will unveil a far-reaching “mission plan” on Wednesday, aimed at addressing the neighborhood’s ongoing issues of litter, street vending, fires and homelessness. It is a pilot plan that will last six months.

Ronen’s initiative comes two months after Mayor London Breed announced the Tenderloin Emergency Plan, which controversially mobilized city resources to reduce overdose deaths and crime in that area.

“As the mayor and the city are really focused on the Tenderloin, we feel like the Mission has escalated even further and been left behind,” Ronen said in an interview. “So we worked with city departments to create our own plan.”

The Mission has reached what Ronen’s office called a “breaking point.” Business owners left because of streets littered with trash and needles; residents are tired of picking up trash thrown outside their homes and have paid other people to do the dirty work for them.

“Street conditions in the Mission are unacceptable,” the plan reads. “The sidewalks are impassable, litter and trash infest the neighborhood, and homeless San Franciscans live in unhealthy and unsafe conditions on the streets.”

Trash cans and gravity bins

As part of this initiative, the Department of Public Works and Reecology, the private company responsible for garbage collection, has agreed to increase garbage collections to more than twice a day along the commercial corridor. Mission between 14th and 25th streets. Recology will also provide Mission businesses with “gravity bins,” trash cans designed to prevent people from rummaging through them.

Public works crews will focus on clearing trash from hotspots, such as commercial corridors and Garfield Park. The city has also pledged to clean up 1979 Mission St., the future site of 330 affordable housing units at 16th Street Plaza.

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Ronen’s plan also complements the Street Vendors Bill she is sponsoring with Supervisor Ahsha Safai and Mayor London Breed, which cracks down on street vendors who sell “stolen goods” without a licence.

Along Mission Street, especially near the 24th and 16th Street BART Plazas, street vendors sell a wide range of goods: hot dogs, shampoo, DVDs. But business owners say street vendors and outdoor markets are interfering with their licensed businesses and trashing the sidewalk, and some blocking entrances to their shops and restaurants.

Ronen said illegal markets are hurting “primarily Latino-owned family businesses in Mission who pay their business registration fees, who pay taxes, who are barely hanging on, who have barely survived the pandemic.” . They’re “telling us now that people won’t come to their stores because there’s a messy street market full of, let’s be honest, mostly stolen,” she said. His office did not provide data showing how many products from street vendors are stolen.

Mayor London Breed drew backlash for cracking down on unlicensed Latinx hot dog vendors in Union Square weeks before his emergency Tenderloin initiative was announced. The street vendor legislation, which will be heard by the Oversight Council’s Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday, also prohibits unauthorized selling at UN Plaza, where elderly Asian immigrants sell canned goods.

Ronen said his goal was to stop people from selling stolen goods, not to punish immigrant street vendors. She said the plan protects “immigrants who own brick-and-mortar stores,” while “providing opportunities for street vendors to be regulated and earn extra money.”

Ronen’s office said the plan will enlist trusted community organizations in Mission to help educate vendors about the registration and permit process in their language. Sellers who cannot show a license within 48 hours could be fined $100 for their first offense, but may be able to reduce it if they cannot pay, under the sellers’ proposal of street.

The Mission plan also includes a proposal to create an indoor flea market to give street vendors a place to sell their wares, and plans to use a vacant Mission Street storefront to host the market.

Camp fires

The initiative also tackles fires in homeless encampments, which homeless people can light for warmth or cooking. The San Francisco Fire Department has agreed to work with Public Works to identify elements in camps that could start debris fires, focusing on areas where fires are frequently started. The plan does not specify the frequency of these inspections.

In February alone, a fire that started from debris displaced more than 20 tenants and one restaurant, Taqueria Los Coyotes. Another fire threatened neighborhood health centers in Mission, and last week a woman died in an uncontrolled campfire under the 280 freeway at Glen Park.

More beds

Ronen’s plan also attempts to address the biggest challenge facing the mission and the city: helping more homeless residents get off the streets and into permanent housing. About 8,000 people lived on the streets of San Francisco in 2019 and about 260 lived in the Mission. Volunteers conducted another count last weekwith results expected this summer.

As part of Ronen’s initiative, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has pledged to reopen 53 beds at Jazzie’s Place and Santa Maria Shelters this spring.

The Healthy Streets Operation Center (HSOC) team, which works with the city’s homeless residents, will increase its patrols, visiting the Mission “several times a week” to connect people to a wealth of resources.

“If they can’t get people to come in, which is obviously the first goal, at least [HSOC can] clean up around these encampments so they don’t become excessive with the amount of litter,” Ronen said.

Homeless advocates have criticized efforts to clear encampments, arguing that such initiatives do not help people get off the streets. Ronen acknowledged that the plan might not solve all the problems on the streets of the mission, but she says it represents an important step forward. “We want a commitment to addressing the new conditions on the streets,” she said.

Lydia Editor-in-Chief Chavez contributed to this report.


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