This is the first part of a series I am doing on San Francisco's Tenderloin. For those unfamiliar with the area, these are the neighborhood boundaries:
Many of you however are familiar with the Tenderloin so I'll refrain from editorializing about the neighborhood other than some basic facts about the area: It is San Francisco's densest neighborhood as well as its poorest and is rapidly becoming San Francisco's fastest-gentrifying. The latter is a surprise to no one aware of the huge wave of gentrification that has been occurring in the City over the last few years; Silicon Valley has officially expanded into San Francisco. Many wonder what that will mean for the few neighborhoods in SF that are still relatively affordable; the Tenderloin is very much a part of the conversation. It's literal centrality in the City and its adjacency to the Financial District and the shopping around Union Square has always baffled tourists and transplants who wonder what city in its right mind would allow the country's worst homelessness to occur in one of the biggest tourist areas in the world. Perhaps what is most surprising though is precisely how unsurprising the neighborhood's many issues are to San Franciscans; it's more or less accepted as the city's designated homeless neighborhood and drug market. Outside of rare incidents involving tourists, the media has largely chosen to ignore the Tenderloin and its growing drug addicted and mentally ill populations.
Of course, the homeless are not the Tenderloin's only residents; far from it. This series is meant to look at the 2013-2014 Tenderloin including its natives and transients, gentrification and homelessness, businesses and shelters, etc.
Welcome to the Tenderloin.
^This is George, a current resident of the SRO building Jefferson Hotel. Before he lived there, he was out in the streets of the Tenderloin strung out on crack; before that, he had just picked up his crack addiction in his native East Oakland. He's now recovered and works for MUNI; however, he still lives in the Tenderloin. Like many recovered and recovering addicts in San Francisco, he's living in one of the many SROs in the Tenderloin which itself has the highest concentration of SROs in the world. He and his girlfriend plan on moving out at some point; his biggest complaint was the overpowering smell of crack that filled up the building on the 1st and 15th of every month. Jefferson Hotel is pictured below and in photos #1, 19, 20, 31 and 38.
^George's room; he pays $600 a month to live there. He does not have his own bathroom; he shares with the others on his floor.
And that's Part 1. Part 2 will hopefully be done by the end of October.