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Linkage Middle Opens In SF Tenderloin To Assist Individuals With Drug, Psychological Well being Points – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN/CBS SF) — As part of San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s plan to address the state of emergency in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, city officials on Tuesday opened a unique Linkage Center.

The center, located at 1172 Market St., is equipped to help up to 100 people at a time suffering from drug use and mental health issues, and is linked to long- and short-term services such as health care and housing.

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The center is part of the Mayor’s Tenderloin Emergency Response Plan, instituted by Breed to address public drug use, overdose deaths and neighborhood crime. The plan was approved by the city’s board of directors late last month.

“Our work in the Tenderloin requires all of our city governments and community partners to work together to address the big challenges that we know exist,” Breed said in a statement. “It’s hard work and I appreciate everyone who comes together in partnership to make a difference for the people of the Tenderloin.”

Due to staff shortages, the center will initially operate seven days a week between 8am and 8pm with limited staff. However, the center will expand to 100 people in the near future and will be open 24 hours a day.

The center will not only connect people to services, but also help people living on the streets access basic necessities like food, water, bathrooms, showers and laundry, city officials said.

“A resource center where people can come off the street and be instantly connected to services, referrals and care without delay or bureaucracy is something we desperately need,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. Haney, whose district includes the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, is a strong advocate of helping people living on the streets to access basic needs like bathrooms and other services.

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“The city is facing a deadly, devastating drug epidemic and we must do what we can to save lives and provide relief and healing to a part of the city that has been so badly affected,” he said.

The center is overseen by both the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, in cooperation with other city agencies as well as several community organizations.

“Trying to move forward on the road to recovery is difficult and even more so without support,” said SFDEM Executive Director Mary Ellen Carroll. “San Francisco’s state of emergency made it possible to open this lifesaving resource so quickly, but it was the tireless work and dedication of community partners and city employees that made it possible.”

The contingency plan is part of a broader effort by Breed to prioritize downtown public safety.

Because part of the effort also includes an increased police presence, the plan has drawn criticism from community groups, homeless advocates and some city officials.

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