Federal employees in San Francisco instructed to work from due to safety concerns over area crime

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an internal memo last week, instructing employees to “maximize the use of telework” due to the conditions around their building, located on 7th Street and Mission Street.

HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration Cheryl R. Campbell sent out the stay-home recommendation in an August 4 memo to regional leaders.

“In light of the conditions at the (Federal Building) we recommend employees … maximize the use of telework for the foreseeable future,” Campbell wrote in the memo.

There are other federal agencies that are housed in the same federal building, but it is not known if they are following the same guidance for their employees. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is also located in a building at that intersection. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "The imposing, 18-story tower on the corner of Seventh and Mission streets houses various federal agencies, including HHS, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the office of Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi. The area is also home to one of the city’s most brazen open-air drug markets, where dozens of dealers and users congregate on a daily basis.”

The plaza where the federal building is located has been known for years as “a place where drug use and sales are common,” according to FOX 2 KTVU.

The homeless and drug problems around that area, as well as the added crime inherent in both, led to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's concern for the safety of her staff that worked in that same building. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom has doubled the number of state troopers in San Francisco to combat the growing drug pandemic, and more specifically, the fentanyl crisis. KTVU reports that in the first 60 days, CHP officers had seized 18 pounds of fentanyl and made 115 arrests.  

Mayor London Breed has welcomed the additional presence of officers.

"It's making a significant impact in terms of the amount of drugs they've been able to confiscate, the weapons, the people that have had warrants and really addressing a lot of the challenges around crime," said Breed, who traditionally has not advocated for more police.

Breed also said that crime in the Bay City is the number one concern for her administration and is something that everyone is talking about.

Crime has been impacting the area substantially. KTVU further reported that Whole Foods closed their flagship store in the city, citing employee safety concerns. That store was located a block from the federal building. Other major retail stores such as Safeway and Target have also closed locations elsewhere in the city.
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