San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Hillary Ronen today announced the deployment of 16 additional community ambassadors to the Mission as part of a broader strategy to promote public safety, improve cleanliness in the neighborhood, and help address challenges stemming from the continued unpermitted street vending on Mission Street and around BART plazas.
Mission SAFE Streets is a new program that will deploy newly-recruited Community Connectors in the neighborhood. Their duties include:
- Providing a positive presence in the neighborhood by connecting residents and merchants to City services as a way to maintain cleaner, safer streets
- Engaging compassionately and respectfully with individuals who may need support for a variety of health and safety reasons
- Clearing pathways in public spaces for residents, workers, and visitors, and provide wayfinding to local small businesses and other amenities
- Creating 311 reports for non-emergencies and calling 911 for emergencies
- Making situationally appropriate referrals to other entities such as the Street Crisis Response Team, other City agencies, or nonprofit organizations
Although they are trained in de-escalation techniques, first aid, and interacting with people going through a mental health crisis, the Mission Community Connectors will not directly intervene in potentially dangerous or life-threating situations that are more appropriately handled by police officers.
The new Mission Community Connectors will cover 13 blocks of Mission Street - between 14th and Cesar Chavez streets - on a rotating schedule seven days a week. They will join five existing community ambassadors that have been deployed to the Mission since the fall of 2014 as part of a program with the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA).
“We have been focused on working with Mission residents and merchants for months to address public safety issues and unacceptable behavior,” says Mayor London Breed. “Our ambassadors are part of this solution and they will strive to provide culturally sensitive service to support a coordinated City response that will allow police to focus on urgent calls for help. It is vital that we keep working to ensure the Mission neighborhood is a place where people want to live, visit, and do business.”
“We are extremely hopeful and proud at the launch of the new Community Connectors ambassador program in the Mission. These ambassadors signal a turning point in our fight to make the Mission a place where families and businesses can thrive and where neighbors feel safe walking in the street or using public transportation,” says Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “I want to thank Mayor Breed, her staff and OEWD for their support in getting this program funded and off the ground. I also want to thank SF SAFE and Latino Task Force for their partnership to administer the program and train the staff. We look forward to seeing cleaner and safer Mission Street and the neighborhood overall.”
Over the past several months, representatives from the Mayor’s Office and multiple City departments have met with Mission merchants and community leaders to address their concerns and share the work the City is doing around crime and safety. The Mayor’s Office has also been collaborating with Supervisor Hillary Ronen on initiatives to address challenges brought up by sex work, pimping, and associated safety issues on Capp Street.
Mission SAFE Streets is a community-led pilot program that will complement several public safety initiatives in the Mission, to include additional foot beat patrol and SFPD Community Ambassadors on Mission Street, as well as BART police at the 16th and 24th streets stations. Additionally, San Francisco Public Works street inspectors are deployed to the Mission on a rotating schedule seven days a week to enforce unpermitted vending in the area.
The City, through the Office of Economic & Workforce Development (OEWD), is partnering with several community organizations on Mission SAFE Streets, including SF SAFE, the program’s leading partner, the Latino Task Force, Bay Area Community Resources, Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR), and Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.
In addition to the Mission Community Connectors, OEWD is partnering with community partners to revitalize the Mission neighborhood which comprises activations through events, activities, and programming in around the BART plazas.
"SF SAFE in partnership with the Latino Task Force is proud to manage this intentional, community-driven public safety alternative, designed to be respectful of residents, and reflective of the patchwork of diversity in the Mission," said Kyra Worthy, Executive Director of San Francisco SAFE Inc. "Our new Community Connectors will play an integral role within the broader City ecosystem of ambassadors, mitigating negative behaviors, building community cohesion, navigating issues impacting our shared public spaces, and serving as a conduit to more local resources."
San Francisco has significantly increased the presence of ambassadors in neighborhoods across the City. This includes Urban Alchemy ambassadors in the Tenderloin and Mid-Market area; Welcome Ambassadors across Downtown, Union Square, and tourist areas; SFPD Community Ambassadors in commercial corridors across the city; and transit station attendants at BART stations.