Sanctuary Districts were sections of cities in the United States of America that were used to house the homeless, mentally ill and unemployed during the mid-21st century. These sections were closed off from the rest of the city.
By 2024, many of these districts were overcrowded and the inhabitants lived in poor conditions. Food was rationed and shortages were not uncommon. Access to medical treatment was also very limited. Violence was common in the districts from other inhabitants as well as the guards assigned to keep order.
Public opinion of this policy was turned in late 2024 following the Bell Riots. After residents in Sanctuary District A in San Francisco took over a processing facility and held six staff hostage. The residents gained access to the global communications network and spread their plight to the rest of the world. In response the governor of California ordered in troops to take back the facility by force, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of residents. (DS9: "Past Tense, Part I", "Past Tense, Part II")