Moving

San Francisco Is Clearing Homeless Encampments Forward of APEC

Meanwhile, there were 468 people on the city’s online waitlist for shelter on Wednesday, less than a week from the event’s launch. The city has about 3,000 shelter beds in its system, which is currently at 91% capacity.

“One of the issues, in this case, is the lack of transparency from the city in terms of what its plans are and how it handles encampment resolution, which can lead to a lot of issues with enforcement of the ordinances they are supposed to be following,” said John Do, an attorney with the ACLU, which is representing plaintiffs in the homelessness lawsuit against San Francisco.

People like Taj and Matt, an unhoused couple living in the South of Market neighborhood, appear to be caught in the city’s impossible juggle.

About a week ago, the two slept on Merlin Street under the 80 freeway overpass in San Francisco when a cadre of city workers woke them up and told them to move.

A Public Works employee told them they needed to clear the area for a big event coming up where President Joe Biden and other heads of state from nearly 20 countries would be coming to town, according to Matt.

They didn’t have any other place to go. So now, Taj says, the couple stays “anywhere we don’t get harassed or our stuff stolen.”

On Wednesday morning, they were in SoMA and asked to shoo again.

“They didn’t offer anything,” said Taj on Wednesday from a SoMa bus stop. “It’s bad enough we are in this position. You know how bad we want to be inside?”

KQED reporter Vanessa Rancaño contributed to this story. 

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