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St. Anthony Foundation Hosts Public Safety Town Hall to Share Concerns in the Tenderloin


Media Contact:
Sally Haims | Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
(415) 254-5884 | SHaims@stanthonysf.org

CEO Nils Behnke and community leaders seek solutions, follow-up meeting in three months with SF DA Brooke Jenkins, SFPD Chief William Scott, SF Sheriff Paul Miyamoto

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 4, 2023) – St. Anthony Foundation, committed to providing pathways to stability for thousands of San Franciscans in need annually, hosted a Public Safety Town Hall in the Tenderloin neighborhood following a shooting in broad daylight on Tuesday, July 18.

The Town Hall featured guest panelists San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, San Francisco Police Department Chief William (Bill) Scott, and San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto. In addition to St. Anthony’s, the audience included leaders from De Marillac Academy, Wu Yee Children’s Services, Larkin Street Youth Services, 826 Valencia, and several other community organizations. Tom Wolf, community advocate, served as the evening’s moderator.

Prior to July’s uptick in visible violence, DA Jenkins had proactively initiated conversations with St. Anthony’s, De Marillac Academy, and other community partners, followed by a visit to the 100 block of Golden Gate Avenue in June. After hearing feedback of an unsafe neighborhood environment during her initial visit, Jenkins and her office proposed the Town Hall, the first in a proposed series of forums that St. Anthony’s hopes to host in the neighborhood together with the community. The July 18 daytime shooting placed increased emphasis on the need for collaborative solutions across city departments.

Nils Behnke delivering opening remarks at a Town Hall hosted by St. Anthony Foundation on August 3, 2023.
CEO Nils Behnke delivering opening remarks at a Town Hall hosted by St. Anthony Foundation on August 3, 2023 (photo courtesy: Jungho Kim)

The shooting occurred at the intersection of Leavenworth Street and Golden Gate Avenue, half-a-block away from St. Anthony’s programs that provide essential and life-changing services to thousands of guests in need daily. According to reports on the day of the shooting, one man was injured, and the victim was taken to the hospital. He was listed in critical condition, and a suspect was reportedly taken into custody. No other bystanders were injured in the incident.

“Violence in the Tenderloin continues to be an on-going concern for our organization and the community,” said St. Anthony Foundation CEO Nils Behnke. “While we’re extremely grateful that our staff, volunteers, and guests are all safe, it’s increasingly difficult to ensure their safety. We want to provide the best experience, and safety should not be a tradeoff.”

After the shooting and shelter-in-place, St. Anthony’s Dining Room closed early, and volunteers were abruptly dismissed. Staff and volunteers were encouraged to avoid Leavenworth Street and use Jones Street as an alternative until further notice.

Below are a list of key discussion topics and takeaways:

  • Engaging with the community, including organizing future Town Hall meeting, attending community events, and listening to feedback from residents in the Tenderloin and neighborhoods throughout the city
  • Changes are occurring internally within their offices, but some measures have only been enacted since May, so the public may not immediately experience the improvements yet
  • The police department is becoming more consistent with their activities, leading to higher arrest rates of dealers
  • Inviting the community to hold them and other elected officials accountable
  • Finding solutions to improve public safety, including a balance between enforcing laws and offering social services
  • Continued collaboration between the District Attorney’s office and the police department to file charges and bring cases to the courts
  • According to the SF DA, the court system is releasing arrested alleged drug dealers, maintains a poor conviction rate, and is not processing cases quickly and efficiently

At the conclusion of the meeting, St. Anthony Foundation invited DA Jenkins, Chief Scott, and Sheriff Miyamoto to a follow-up Town Hall in three months for a status update on enacting solutions for improved safety in the Tenderloin. To read and view coverage of the Town Hall, visit the News section of our website by clicking the link: In the News | St. Anthony’s (stanthonysf.org).

About St. Anthony Foundation

In the Tenderloin’s struggle with poverty, addiction, and mental illness, St. Anthony Foundation has been a beacon of consistency, companionship, and caring for more than 70 years. We provide our guests with a range of services—from a place to rest or take a shower, clothing, and addiction recovery, to meals, medical care, and workforce development. At St. Anthony’s, we take a different approach, one that delivers meaningful results — Hope. Stability. Renewal.


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