San Francisco reportedly removed encampments sheltering homeless people in downtown ahead of an upcoming international summit where President Joe Biden will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Homelessness has long plagued San Francisco, according to a 2022 count conducted by the city that showed around 3,400 people sleep in a shelter while about 4,400 people sleep on the streets on any given night in the northern California city.
This week, homeless people have been moved to parts of the city far from the location of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next week, the New York Post reported.
The summit will be the city’s largest international event since dignitaries gathered to sign the charter creating the United Nations in 1945, according to the Associated Press.
“They started clearing the tents earlier this week and there is definitely a lot more police presence,” South of Market resident and activist Ricci Lee Wynne told The Post.
An aerial view of San Francisco’s first temporary sanctioned tent encampment for the homeless on May 18, 2020 in San Francisco, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
San Francisco reportedly focused on moving encampments in South of Market and Tenderloin that sheltered the homeless as well as people reportedly abusing fentanyl and heroin.
Crews working with the city and police officers asked homeless people to move away from the area surrounding the Moscone Center, NBC Bay Area reported. A video report published by the news channel showed a homeless man gathering his belongings to move presumably to a shelter.
“They’ve cleared out the tents that were near the Moscone Center on Howard Street, which tells me the city had the capability to do this all along — instead they just do the bare minimum,” Lee Wynne told the Post.
Lee Wynne continued: “Once APEC is gone, police presence will start to simmer down again, the tents will return. And it will slowly flare up again. What we need is a permanent solution.”
The Messenger reached out to San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s office for comment.