UC Hastings Contributes to City’s Mid-Market Safety Plan

UC Hastings Law has partnered with the City and County of San Francisco and Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration on a program to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the school and its surrounding neighborhood.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the Mid-Market Vibrancy and Safety Plan, which includes community ambassadors stationed at every block of the area from the Powell Street BART Station to 8th Street at Market and adjacent areas just south of Market Street, UN Plaza, and the Tenderloin blocks bordered by Larkin and Eddy streets.

Starting June 15 and ramping up to full coverage over the summer, community ambassadors will help keep the area safe and clean. They will also interact with residents and visitors to make sure that people in need receive support and get connected to city services. The ambassadors are provided through Urban Alchemy, which refers to members of its workforce as practitioners. The nonprofit primarily employs formerly incarcerated people as well as individuals who are or have been unhoused. Urban Alchemy practitioners—armed with street smarts and de-escalation training—work in teams to provide a calming presence in public spaces by establishing relationships, forming agreements, and offering community-minded safety services.

To supplement Breed’s proposed budget of $5 million, UC Hastings is committing $3 million over three years, which it sought and received from Governor Newsom in his May revision budget proposal.

Another component of the city’s plan is to deploy additional police officers using a community policing model that seeks to build trust with residents, business owners, and visitors. The officers, who will patrol primarily on foot, will get to know the community and will work with people in the neighborhood to address challenges.

Chancellor and Dean David L. Faigman lauded Breed’s leadership and “resolute and unwavering” commitment to public safety.

“We are confident that under the Mayor’s leadership, San Francisco will muster the will and resources to restore the City to the prominence it enjoyed prior to the pandemic,” Faigman said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and her team.”

UC Hastings is providing both monetary and legal service support for Urban Alchemy, Faigman said. “In order to support Urban Alchemy’s operations, the school will provide it with legal services through its Social Enterprise & Economic Empowerment Clinic, enhancing our students’ experiential learning and providing valuable pro bono services to a worthy organization.”

UC Hastings Chief Financial Officer David Seward expressed his gratitude to the city and state officials who recognize the importance of investing in San Francisco’s urban core in a project with the potential to serve as a national model for alternatives to policing.

“This will facilitate the resumption of full academic operations on campus for Fall 2021,” Seward said, adding that he’s been inspired by meeting Urban Alchemy staff members who have overcome adversity and are now working to improve the community in a respectful and non-confrontational way.

Urban Alchemy has been providing services in the area for the past three years. Its executive director, Lena Miller, said the new safety program will “provide additional work opportunities for individuals who have been disconnected from the workforce, as respected assets and resources for the community, while at the same time improving quality of life for all, including San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities.”

UC Hastings Chief Operating Officer Rhiannon Bailard said the plan holds great promise for the campus, the Tenderloin, and surrounding areas.

“The Tenderloin neighborhood is a wonderful, vibrant, and dynamic community, one where people on the street say hello to each other and relationships are rich,” she said. “At the same time, this is a neighborhood that has often felt like a containment zone, where activities that are not permitted in other communities are pushed into this, the densest residential community in the city. With this significant allocation of resources by the City and County of San Francisco as well as the State of California, not only will sidewalk safety improve, not only will parents feel comfortable walking their children down the street, but the community will know that this is not a neighborhood to be neglected and is, instead, a neighborhood that is prioritized, appreciated, and acknowledged for its tremendous worth.”