Amid the ongoing problems with rising crime and rampant drug use in San Francisco, certain federal employees are being urged to work remotely due to safety concerns. Employees of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), working out of the Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building, were told to “maximize the use of telework” to avoid the drug dealers and users that gather right outside their offices.

Federal employees working out of the Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in San Francisco are working remotely to avoid the drug dealers outside the offices. The Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building / Creative Commons
The Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building / Creative Commons

Located at the intersection of Seventh and Mission Streets, the 18-story Nancy Pelosi Federal building is home to a number of agencies, including HHS, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Transportation, as well as the office of the building’s namesake, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But as the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Monday, the area around the building is home to one of the city’s worst open-air drug markets, “where dozens of dealers and users congregate on a daily basis.”

The Chronicle report continued:

Dozens of dealers routinely plant themselves on, next to or across the street from the property, operating in shifts as users smoke, snort or shoot up their recent purchases. The property’s concrete benches are an especially popular site for users to get high, socialize or pass out.

A US Attorney’s Office statement from June further revealed that two men—one of them armed—conducted a drug deal directly in front of the building’s security cameras in broad daylight.

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In light of the growing danger to the building’s employees, HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration Cheryl Campbell sent an August 4 memo to regional leaders encouraging them to implement work-from-home policies. “In light of the conditions at the [Federal Building], we recommend employees…maximize the use of telework for the foreseeable future.”

This statement was reportedly made on the very same day that the White House Chief of Staff urged federal employees to return to in-person work after years of COVID-era office closures.

Former Speaker Pelosi’s office says that they raised concerns with local law enforcement in recent months but her five-person staff has not been told to work remotely. The other departments in the building have likewise not been advised to stay at home.

The concerns for the federal building come amid San Francisco’s ongoing “doom spiral” as the city battles rising violent crime, rising rates of drug abuse, and a historic homeless population. Murders, robberies, and car thefts are all up this year, as are drug overdoses owing to high rates of fentanyl trafficking in the area. Additionally, an estimated 38,000 homeless people now live on the streets of San Francisco, up 35% since 2019.

“Crime in San Francisco is so out-of-control that employees at the Federal Building are being told to stay home,” said California Republican Rep. Kevin Kiley in a tweet. “If California offers a preview of where our country is headed, San Francisco offers an even starker warning. This is where failed policies, radical politics, and public corruption are in their most advanced stage – and where residents are most rapidly fleeing.”


San Francisco’s reputation is getting worse by the day, providing other cities with a great example of what not to do. For example, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been improving quality of life in his city, and during a recent sitdown with Patrick Bet-David, he explained how California could mirror Florida’s success.

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