City Hall at Sunset

How San Francisco Travel Supports Clean and Safe Streets

Learn about the policy actions that San Francisco Travel supports to keep our city clean and safe.

San Francisco is known for its diversity and friendly people, for its natural beauty and world-class attractions. These are the things that make it such a desirable destination. Nevertheless, like any urban destination worldwide, the city has challenges with unhealthy street behavior and safety concerns.

We know this is an especially sensitive issue for our meeting and convention clients. That's why we want you to know about the plans and programs that we support as the City works to make San Francisco's streets clean and comfortable for everyone.

City Investment

Mayor London Breed’s Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future outlines strategies for clean and safe streets, transportation, equity, and local businesses. In the first six months since launching this roadmap, the City has already made significant progress in fulfilling this vision. Through the approved 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 budget, San Francisco city officials aim to cut unsheltered homelessness in half in five years. $700 million allocated for addressing homelessness includes funding for an additional 600 shelter beds, 1,055 permanent housing spaces, and 1,650 rapid re-housing placements for the newly homeless, as well as funding 825 intervention actions. These include helping eligible residents pay their rent to avoid becoming homeless.

Funding for the Public Works department is also included in the city budget, prioritizing street cleanup crew and resources to address the open-air drug markets including overdose prevention services, wellness facilities and 400 new treatment beds.

The city also prioritized the San Francisco Police Department in the budget by increasing its staffing levels by over 200 officers over the next two years in addition to providing resources for policing alternatives.

Keeping San Francisco Beautiful

San Francisco Travel leads the Clean and Safe Coalition, an advocacy group that recently wrote a letter successfully requesting priorities for clean and safe streets in the city’s budget. San Francisco Travel also supports the $25 million supplemental investment in the City’s Department of Public Works, which is charged with keeping our streets clean and beautiful.

Aerial of Lombard Street

In the Neighborhoods

In addition to the City’s initiatives, our neighborhoods are supported by Community Benefit Districts (CBD’s). These non-profit organizations partner with the City to fund clean and safe initiatives and quality of life improvements for residents and visitors alike. For example:

  • Downtown SF Partnership aims to enhance the downtown core, encompassing the traditional Financial District and historic Jackson Square through placemaking, activating the public realm, clean and safe operations, events, marketing support and more.
  • Downtown Streets Team is a nonprofit program working to employ those currently experiencing homelessness. Team members engage in beautification projects such as street cleaning. In San Francisco and neighboring cities, it serves more than 750 unhoused men and women a year with almost 50 staff members and growing. Its goal is to end homelessness in our lifetime, one community at a time. SF Travel funds our own DST team in the SOMA neighborhood, around the Yerba Beuna and Moscone complex.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District works alongside the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchants Association and serves as a catalyst for unification of Fisherman's Wharf constituents to support a positive change to their San Francisco neighborhood through marketing initiatives, public realm projects, economic development, and advocacy.
  • SOMA West Community Benefit District provides services that address cleanliness, safety, and beautification of the district, which is home to The Moscone Center. Each SOMA West CBD program is designed to improve the quality of life for residents, business owners, employees, property owners, and visitors.
  • The Tenderloin Community Benefit District (TLCBD) works relentlessly to provide a clean and safe environment. Strong community partnerships and supportive collaboration with city agencies will create positive change in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Organization services are focused on implementing neighborhood improvements around the physical environment, economic development, and neighborhood pride.
  • The Union Square Alliance ensures that the Union Square District’s public and private spaces feel clean, safe and welcoming for all by providing exceptional services, amenities, and experiences.
  • The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD) is at work daily to ensure the city’s cultural hub is inviting. By engaging a Clean Team, trained community guides, and working closely with the SFPD, YBCBD ensures visitors to the area’s museums, gardens, restaurants, and hotels enjoy their visit.

Welcome Ambassador Program

In October 2021, San Francisco Travel helped the City launch its Welcome Ambassador program. Since then, the program has been recognized by the industry as a model for reinvigorating destinations.

Our Welcome Ambassadors are knowledgable, multi-lingual, and committed to sharing their love of San Francisco with visitors. Stationed in popular neighborhoods along highly trafficked routes and near key attractions, our Welcome Ambassadors provide way-finding assistance, translation services, business recommendations, and more. While they are not emergency responders, they are trained in how to deal with difficult situations.

Welcome Ambassadors are regularly deployed to the neighborhood around The Moscone Center during major citywide conventions.

San Francisco's Welcome Ambassadors prepare to greet visitors at the Ferry Building.

Finding New Resources

There are several City programs and resources that San Francisco Travel supports that combat homelessness. In 2018, the voters of San Francisco passed Proposition C: Our City, Our Home. The funding from that measure is now available and will provide up to an additional $300 million in funding for permanent supportive housing, mental health services, homeless prevention and emergency shelter and hygiene services.

San Francisco's City government coordinates the key programs and staffers from the Department of Public Health, the Human Services Agency, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, and the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families to form the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. By bringing local experts together and combining their resources, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing can operate with the singular focus of preventing and providing a path out of homelessness for individuals and families.

To Shelter and Serve

Since opening in 2015, San Francisco led the way in transitioning people out of homelessness when it opened its first Navigation Center. The facility is not a traditional homeless shelter. It doesn't just give those in need a place to sleep; it also provides them with case managers who connect them to public benefits, health services, and more permanent housing. Unlike most shelters, there are few barriers to entry. People in need are allowed to bring their partners, pets, and possessions—all things that they may be relying on to survive the experience of homelessness.

There are now many Navigation Centers in operation that have served thousands of individuals. Many of those individuals have transitioned into more permanent housing or have been reunited with family or friends through the City’s Homeward Bound Program. This program is nationally recognized and has been replicated in other cities.

Protection, Prevention, and Reunion

Eviction prevention programs help keep those vulnerable to being homeless in their homes. These programs provide funds to pay back rent, legal services, counseling and more. Homeless prevention programs provide financial assistance to individuals and families at imminent risk of becoming homeless so they may keep their homes or quickly find suitable alternative housing. The Homeward Bound program reunites homeless individuals living in San Francisco with family and friends who are willing and able to provide housing and ongoing support to break the cycle of homelessness.

The Street Crisis Response Team

A collaboration between the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Fire Department, and the Department of Emergency Management, Street Crisis Response Teams (SCRT) are a large network that includes non-police responders, EMTs, paramedics, and neighborhood-based care. SCRT operates citywide seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and treats those experiencing homelessness or behavioral health or overdose crisis. They are able to deploy the appropriate team from a multitude of partners, including the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT), the Street Medicine Team, the Wellness team, and the Homeless Engagement Assistance Response Team (HEART).

By calling 311 or using their SF311 mobile app, individuals can direct trained staff to specific locations around the city where someone is in need. For visitors with phone numbers outside San Francisco’s 415 area code, dial (415) 701-2311.

Working with Local Law Enforcement

San Francisco Travel supports increasing the ranks of the San Francisco Police Department and dedicated foot patrols in all neighborhoods, but particularly around our downtown hotels and The Moscone Center. The presence of additional officers makes guests at The Moscone Center feel more comfortable during their visit, which is why San Francisco Travel supports the SFPD’s recruitment and retention efforts. We also support and encourage mental health and social workers to respond to calls such as mental crises, substance abuse or non-emergency calls concerning help for someone experiencing homelessness.

Our organization and our industry as a whole enjoys a trusting, communicative relationship with all first responder services in the city. While our first priority is to meet those in need with compassion, we also believe that illegal behavior should be dealt with appropriately.

For our major citywide events, The Moscone Center has been working closely with the three San Francisco Police districts that serve the neighborhoods surrounding the venue. Together, they have designed pedestrian traffic plans that deploy officers, both on foot and on bicycle, to the streets and public spaces that attendees are most likely to walk during their stay. This is just another way we are ensuring a safe and pleasant experience for our guests to The Moscone Center.

How You Can Help

The best thing you can do to help us improve our city is to keep in touch with your convention sales and services managers at San Francisco Travel. Let us know about any issues you may experience during your meeting and send us any questions you may have about these programs.

You can also give back during your meeting in San Francisco. Click here to learn about a number of local charitable organizations that you can work with to make a positive impact.

Creating a more welcoming environment for visitors is our chief concern, and we appreciate your participation and support. If you'd like more information about how your attendees can enjoy San Francisco safely, check out our safety tips for attendees.

Sales team at IMEX

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