In a pair of competing pieces this morning, the Chronicle is saying both that the tent-dwellers on Division Street are all packing up and leaving, as demanded by the city with a deadline of Friday, and that some are not. But the question remains, for those who have refused prodding by the Department of Public Works and the SFPD to head to the makeshift temporary shelter at Pier 80, whether they'll be arrested for illegal camping come Friday, or not.
Per the Chron, "virtually nobody in city government was embracing that option with any eagerness," which means that they'll just keep prodding and encouraging people to move through tomorrow, and then wait and see how many attempt to return. Homeless advocates, meanwhile, have been decrying what would appear to be the criminalization of homelessness, which has long been a hot-button issue in the city.
The presence of encampments under that overpass is also far from a new phenomenon it dates back at least a decade and DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon has previously said that her department had been conducting regular cleanups of the area, needles and all, since January 2014.
Due to El Nino rains, however, there were a reported 250 people living under the overpass as of earlier this month. 95 have been successfully relocated to Pier 80, and 55 are allegedly on their way. Other shelters and the Homeless Navigation Center are ready to take about 50 more, leaving about 50 other people with no other immediate option than to relocate their encampment to some new location on the street.
One of the homeless, a 50-year-old ex-con named Tennessee, told the paper that he'd just move "one block over or one block down" as he had in the past after similar encampments in SoMa and elsewhere were cleared. As for the temporary shelter, he says, "If they want Pier 80 to be an attractive option then why is there barbed wire surrounding the place?Makes you wonder if it's there to keep people out or keep people in."
According to Hoodline, former mayoral candidate Amy Farah Weiss and other advocates are meeting with Supervisor David Campos Friday to discuss the possibility of allowing another encampment to exist along Cesar Chavez under the 101 overpass.
Weiss is encouraging the rest of us to take a trip down to Division Street before the 10 a.m. deadline tomorrow to "show support" for the campers there and monitor the actions taken by the city.
Meanwhile, across the world in France, a migrant tent city in Calais dubbed "the Jungle" is being cleared by French authorities for similar public health reasons, with people being relocated to heat-equipped shipping containers nearby where, similarly to SF's situation, there isn't expected to be enough room for everyone.