As you might have heard, the tent city encampment on Division Street in the Mission under the freeway was removed yesterday. Mayor Ed Lee belatedly approved the action in response to neighborhood complaints, and over the objections of D9 Supervisor David Campos.
Meanwhile, in northeast Bernal Heights, a neighbor from Holladay Street at Brewster writes to ask if there’s a plan for the encampment along Cesar Chavez under US101:
I’m wondering why the encampment under the freeways over here wasn’t a part of [the encampment removal], and whether/how it will be affected. Do you have any scoop?
I’m sick to death of repeated vehicle break-ins and scared for my kids. I most recently ducked under our living room couch at 4 am with my two-month-old and called 911 after two guys breaking into cars spotted me looking out the window … and that’s not the only recent incident.
I don’t know what has to do with the homeless encampment and what doesn’t, and I’m certainly sympathetic. But I’m at a point where I feel like everything’s got to be addressed, and that seems like a huge piece of the puzzle to me.
UPDATE: Hoodline reports that advocates are meeting with Supervisor Campos on Friday to discuss the possibility of turning the area under the Cesar Chavez/101 overpass into San Francisco’s first city-sanctioned homeless camp:
These camps, or “St. Francis Villages,” would provide the homeless with space to camp as well as essential services, including the ability to sleep in a monitored location, 24/7 access to restrooms, and transitional services, [Amy Farah Weiss] says.
The idea of providing monitored and serviced campgrounds for the homeless is nothing new, Weiss says. The Right To Dream Too nonprofit offers a refuge for unhoused residents in Portland; the city of Eugene, Ore. offers rest-stops for homeless individuals and couples to sleep safely at night; and Seattle opened its first sanctioned homeless camps last fall.
Weiss and her partners in the St. Francis Homelessness Challenge have identified Cesar Chavez below the 101 overpass — where roughly 50 to 100 homeless residents are camping — as a potential first site for a city-sanctioned camp and are meeting with District 9 Supervisor David Campos about the possibility this Friday.
However, that land is owned by Caltrans and under the jurisdiction of the California Highway Patrol, which has been directed to “crack down” on camping on state lands, Weiss said. At this point, it’s unclear whether a collaboration to use those lands will be feasible.
UPDATE: Friday, Feb 26: Neighbor Margo attended the “walk around” in the encampment under the Chavez/101 overpass today, and reports:
My neighbor Keith and I went to the walk-around today with Supervisor Campos, folks from DPW and Caltrans, Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) from the city, Coalition for the Homeless people, and a guy who seemed to be one of the “St Francis Village” folks. Making the under-the-freeway camping area into permanent, sanctioned homeless encampment DID NOT appear to even be in the discussion. The discussion was around ways to improve services, figure out how (long-term) to get these folks inside and (short-term) how to make the situation under the freeway less dangerous, unsanitary, divisive, inhumane, etc.
To repeat: Making this area a permanent, sanctioned homeless encampment WAS NOT discussed as a serious solution.
That said, there was talk of trying to establish one of perhaps 5 (citywide) “navigation centers” for the homeless somewhere near here, perhaps in the parking lot near the storage area on the east side of the freeway.
PHOTO: Portion of encampment under US101 at Cesar Chavez, February 24, 2016. Photo by Telstar Logistics