SF Mission St. vendors blame 90-day ban for contributing to them ending up homeless, living in van

For one family, the vehicle that transported their merchandise became their home.

Luz Pena Image
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
SF vendors blame 90-day ban for contributing to family's homelessness
The 90-day street vending ban is still in effect in San Francisco and now multiple street vendors are reporting housing insecurity.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In San Francisco, the 90-day street vending ban is still in effect and now multiple street vendors are reporting housing insecurity.

The Mission Street vending ban went into effect on November 27. Approximately 140 permitted street vendors had to stop selling on Mission St.

It's been more than five weeks and we are now seeing the results. Mission Street is clean most of the time, but now several permitted street vendors are blaming the ban for contributing to them ending up homeless.

For the last decade, Luis and Luz Ledesma have been street vendors in the Mission District.

We met them last month setting up their table days before the city implemented a 90 day street vending ban on Mission Street.

During the holidays, the van that transports their merchandise became their home.

"I moved everything and we slept one week in my van. Because we didn't have the money to pay the rent," said Luis Ledesma.

RELATED: San Francisco Mission vendors making '$10 a day' due to 90-day street vending ban

Some San Francisco Mission Street vendors say they're making $10 a day due to city's 90-day street vending ban.

After one week in the van with their 2 year old daughter the city provided a shelter for them.

Everything they own is in a storage unit. They blame the 90 day ban for blocking them from selling outdoors on Mission Street and ending up homeless.

"I go sleep in a shelter because I don't have the money to pay the rent. The supervisor Hillary move all the people," said Lesdesma.

Luis said they used to make $1,300 a week. He showed us the back of the van where they had the holiday inventory ready to sell. Everything still in bags.

RELATED: SF to pay street vendors $1K, launch campaign to promote them during 90-day ban

San Francisco officials announced on Thursday the city will pay street vendors $1,000 and launch a campaign to promote them during the 90-day ban.

The city opened two sites for vendors to sell indoors on Mission Street.

We went by the 2137 Mission street location called "Tiangue Marketplace." There were only 4 vendors in a space that has room for over 40. Luis said they tried selling there but only made $25 in a week.

"I had a permit. I pay my taxes. I have everything. I follow the rule and the system. Everything. I never complain. I have zero complains from the people for me," said Ledesma.

VIDEO: Unpermitted street vending still happening in SF's Mission District despite 90-day ban

Unpermitted street vending is still happening in San Francisco's Mission District despite the city's 90-day ban.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen proposed the ban to tackle illegal activity on Mission Street. Mission neighborhood street crisis response coordinator, Santiago Lerma confirmed that he knows of at least another street vendor reporting housing insecurity after the ban.

"It's very unfortunate if that is what has caused them to lose their housing, but we cannot say that this is not a ban in the whole city. This is a ban on one specific street," said Lerma.

Last night, Luz Ledesma recorded a video of illegal vending still happening on 24th street. This morning 24th street had several SFPD officers on sight and illegal vending was gone.

"Right now the results we are seeing on Mission Street are incredible. There has been a very big benefit to the community as a whole so we will continue to uphold the ban until we think the chaos has subsided and the streets have returned to normalcy," said Lerma.

RELATED: SF's Mission St. vendors urge officials to postpone 90-day selling ban until after holidays

Luz got emotional because she says they are collateral damage.

"We are just hopeful that this is not going to last forever that we are going to be okay," said Luz Lederma.

In their van a balloon read "Happy New Year" Luis Ledesma said, "It's not happy. It's not a happy new year. It's a terrible new year. It's not happy."

The Ledesma family has opened a GoFundMe account as they hope to get back on their feet.

The street vending ban is set to end next month, but according to Lerma the city is looking into extending it and also adding more Public Works inspectors to the area.

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