Over three decades ago, Vietnamese immigrants began settling in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Larkin Street, one of several retail corridors in the area, features many Vietnamese-owned restaurants, shops, tailors, dry cleaners, as well as organizations that offer financial and immigration services. In 2004, the city of San Francisco officially designated Larkin Street between Eddy and O’Farrell streets as “Little Saigon” (Sài Gòn Nho). It is vibrant district that is both the cultural and commercial heart and soul of the Vietnamese community, hosting such annual events Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet) and the Asian Heritage Street Fair.
Larkin Street has a high concentration of social services agencies and active local organizations providing supportive services and housing to youth, families and the homeless. The North of Market / Tenderloin CBD provides cleaning and safety services as well as a range of programs to further the beautification of the Tenderloin.
Larkin Street features many thriving businesses, including a concentration of ethnic Southeast Asian restaurants. Sales tax captured in the district has grown 114% since 2006, compared with 17% growth Citywide. The district struggles with cleanliness and the poor physical condition of many storefront facades. Public safety on Larkin Street is a primary concern for businesses and other community stakeholders. The commercial district experiences relatively high levels of crime, including significant numbers of assaults and robberies. Hot spots of criminal activity occur at Geary, O’Farrell, Eddy, and Turk Streets.