San Francisco: San Francisco Mayor London Breed has declared an official state of emergency in the Tenderloin neighbourhood, allowing the city to waive certain laws to quickly address the crisis of people dying of drug overdoses on the streets.
The drug overdose problem has worsened, particularly over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, putting the lives of San Franciscans in serious risk, Xinhua news agency quoted Breed’s announcement as saying.
The emergency declaration, as part of the Tenderloin Emergency Intervention Plan, allows the city to expedite the implementation of emergency programs like waiving rules around contract procurement and waiving zoning and planning codes to quickly open a temporary linkage site where people with substance use issues can receive behavioural health services and get off the street.
The emergency declaration will apply to actions taken within the boundaries of the Tenderloin Police District, according to the announcement.
“The situation in the Tenderloin is an emergency and it calls for an emergency response,” said Breed.
“We will use that focus and coordination to disrupt the illegal activity in the neighbourhood, to get people the treatment and support they need, and to make the Tenderloin a safer, more livable place for the families and children who call the neighbourhood home.:
“We are losing over two people a day to drug overdoses… This is a public health emergency demanding a crisis level response, with massive urgency, coordination, and determination to confront this epidemic,” said City Supervisor Matt Haney.
The declaration of emergency must be ratified by the Board of Supervisors within the next seven days, and will exist for no longer than 90 days.