Moving

San Francisco makes an attempt to clear homeless from areas close to APEC Summit, straining shelter system

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco has stepped up efforts to put its best foot forward for APEC, including clearing homeless camps in neighborhoods surrounding the conference.

This activity has raised questions about where the homeless go and what is being done to get them the help they need.

Michael Hudson has been living near Market Street for several months. He says he just found out about the APEC conference.

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“This is the third time they have kicked us out. And this time they didn’t allow us to put our tents back up,” Hudson said.

He said he lost many of his belongings during the last move.

“They threw everything in a big truck, took it and hauled it somewhere,” Hudson said. “They're supposed to keep it for us, and that's what was written on the paper they gave us. But when I asked, no one could find any of my things. They're just harassing us more and coming out and arresting people.”

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The Coalition on Homelessness says more help should be available for unhoused people living in the APEC safe zone.

“We have been pushing for them to release more resources,” said Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness. “What we've seen is that the main shelter that people can just walk up to and leave – on Dolores Street – doesn't allow people to sleep there. It only allows people who have been expelled from the APEC zone to sleep there.”

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Friedenbach said her organization learned of the Dolores shelter plan on Wednesday.

“We would like to see the city add more beds and perhaps provide some hotel rooms or accommodations in a church. But we would increase capacity to offset the displacement that people are facing,” Friedenbach said.

KPIX reached out to the city for comment on these concerns and received an email that stated, in part, “The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing does not provide special housing for APEC.”

It was noted that some recently funded sites are already available, such as the Interfaith Winter Shelter. Around 300 additional beds will be available in three adult accommodations between November and December.

As for Hudson, he doesn't know where he'll sleep the rest of the week.

“I’ll drop my stuff off at the shelter down there, but I don’t sleep there,” he said. “It’s dirty and people cough on you everywhere.”

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