Residents of San Francisco's newest neighborhood — the tent city located on Division Street under the overpass — are worried. But as the Super Bowl approaches and the city swells with tourists, the homeless living densely packed along the sidewalk have more to fear than just the normal stresses of life on the street. Instead, rumor has spread through the camp that city officials plan to pack them into a warehouse so as to be out of sight of the cameras and decidedly out of mind of the tourists.
“Rumor has it the week before the Super Bowl, [Lee's] going to try to basically corral the homeless into some building down on Embarcadero, one of the warehouses,” Hoyt Walker, a resident of the tent city, explained to SF Weekly. “When it's spread out, it doesn't look bad," Walker noted. "They didn't really know how many people were out here.”
Walker may perhaps be responding to statements from elected officials, notably Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Scott Wiener, that the homeless would have to "leave" during the Super Bowl and that the tents should be removed.
Where Walker and the other residents of Tent City are getting their information is unclear, and it is unknown if there is any truth to the the rumor that city officials are going to try and stick them in some warehouse somewhere. However, the Weekly thinks it's a real possibility and calls out a warehouse on 3rd and Cesar Chavez that city officials have been scrambling to get ready as a “low-threshold shelter.”
Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, told the paper that yes, such a makeshift shelter is in the works.
“It has not opened up yet,” noted Friedenbach. “They're still trying to get the permitting through.”
For Walker and the other people living on Division Street everything is up in the air, but they'll likely find out the truth (or lack thereof) of the rumors soon enough as city officials make any end-run moves this week. As for Walker, in a video uploaded to YouTube, he made it clear what he thinks is behind efforts to hide the members of San Francisco's homeless community.
"[Mayor Lee] didn't want none of us by the off-ramps, for when the Super Bowl come, because he is pretty much trying to keep it like it ain't happening. [...] Mayor Lee don't give a fuck about us, evidently."