Division Street's tent city, a sizable homeless encampment beneath a section of the Central Freeway that has grown in size over the last two winters, will be cleared by city agencies within 72 hours. The Chronicle's Matier and Ross write that city officials are now officially declaring the area a health hazard, and video shows the Department of Public Works already performing sweeps of the area.
According to Department of Public Health spokesperson Rachel Kagan, notices will be posted this evening or tomorrow that "will say that this area is now in violation of health codes and is not inhabitable."
To ensure compliance, "The Department of Public Works will go in like they did with the Occupy encampment [in 2012]," according to Police Chief Greg Suhr. "We will be there in support to make sure that nobody gets hurt,” he added, not commenting on whether his Department would make arrests.
Additionally, a "hot team" from the Health Department has also been on site, urging campers toward Pier 80 and other shelters, and the California Highway Patrol is reportedly present as well. Furthermore, here's a video from the Coalition on Homelessness, as posted to Facebook, showing the cleanup already in motion Tuesday.
During a rainy winter season, the nearly mile-long section of sidewalk on Division Street saw a steady influx of occupants, some reportedly displaced by Super Bowl City at Justin Herman Plaza. Of late, the scene on Division Street has come to represent the City's seemingly intractable problem of homelessness.
Local politicians like Supervisor Scott Wiener, pundits like the Chronicle's Chuck Nevius, and businesses like a nearby gym have called for the area to be cleared. Others, however, raised upwards of $10,000 to purchase tents for homeless people in the area in part because of rumors that the Department of Public Works was confiscating them. Confusingly, Public Works spokesperson Rachel Gordon has denied those allegations but now says “We have been doing what we always have been doing,” whatever that means.
Mayor Lee, meanwhile, was not coincidentally touring Pier 80's expensive but seemingly unpopular new shelters, where he hopes many homeless San Franciscans will land, Mayor Lee reportedly said that “Once we clean up the area, we expect the area to be kept clean and not be re-encamped.”