Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Politics & Govt
Published on May 26, 2020
City opens empty Tenderloin parking lot for camping, with no services providedUnhoused neighbors move into the empty lot at 180 Jones St. on May 26, 2020 | Photos: Carrie Sisto/Hoodline

An empty city-owned Tenderloin parking lot was opened today, officially allowing a small number of unhoused residents to have space to pitch their tents.

The 4,743 square foot surface lot at 180 Jones St., which is slated to eventually become an affordable housing development, was marked with 12 by 12 foot squares by the city to provide space for up to 10 tents, according to JP Streeter, public information officer with the city’s Emergency Operations Center.

Plans for the site to serve as an interim location for a 15-tent drug sobering center are currently on hold due to the pandemic.

The recently-opened space is currently “intended to serve those individuals who have congregated nearby,” Streeter said.

The city marked 10 tent spaces in the 180 Jones lot to accommodate residents with tents on the sidewalk nearby.

As we reported last week, the city is paying a private security company about $6,000/week to monitor the previously empty parking lot.

Streeter said the company will continue to monitor the location now that it's open to camping. However, he said that unlike the Safe Sleeping Village at the Fulton Street Mall or 730 Stanyan, "no [dedicated] services will be provided there.”

Individuals currently camped on the streets or sidewalks will only be asked to move if the city has identified housing for them, Streeter added. 

The city's Homeless Outreach Team provides services throughout the neighborhood, but nothing is specifically dedicated to the 180 Jones site.

San Francisco is not clearing any encampments in the neighborhood during the ongoing pandemic, because it doesn’t want to “cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers,” he said.

Nearby unhoused residents were already moving into the newly-opened site this afternoon. While the opening of 180 Jones for tents is a step toward offering additional space for all residents in the neighborhood, ongoing calls for additional steps continue, both in and out of court