It appears that the city's strategy of issuing a 72-hour notice to vacate last week around the tent city that had ballooned in January and February under the freeway viaduct along Division Street was somewhat successful in thinning the crowd, however that success may have only been temporary. As the Chronicle reports, a "few dozen" holdouts remain and refuse to leave, and some who are camped there now actually showed up last week after the order was given.
As we'd discussed all last week, there was resistance among some of encampment-dwellers to move to a barbed-wire-fenced temporary shelter on Pier 80, not to mention the fact that the shelter did not have room for all of the approximately 250 people who were living under the overpass as of earlier this month.
While there was some fear that the SFPD would be swooping in Friday and issuing citations and/or arresting any holdouts, that did not happen.
The area has been declared a health hazard both by local businesses and by the Department of Public Health, and while an owner at nearby Rainbow Grocery has called for the city to bring in porta-potties and better manage the situation, others like Supervisor Scott Wiener have declared that the entire situation is a poor and unacceptable alternative to actual housing and shelters. The Department of Public Works has subsequently come through encouraging campers to move, and hosing down sidewalks.
NBC Bay Area reports that some of the campers merely moved down the street to the Showplace Square area where a similar notice to vacate was issued by the Department of Public Health on Thursday, but also not entirely enforced as of Sunday. The DPW was around the area conducting needly cleanups, etc.
One man still camped in the area told the station that the tent city population there had decreased by about 75 percent as of the weekend, including the length of Division Street.
It remains to be seen if DPW will return to encourage more people to leave as holdouts remain and some others return. Supervisor Jane Kim and others have said that the city's actions are merely moving homeless around, which appears to be partly the case especially since among the 250 camped under the freeway, the city's more robust Homeless Navigation Center, which might be able to find more permanent housing and supportive services for people only had room to take about a dozen new entrants. Elsewhere, shelters this winter are reportedly at or near capacity, and some in the tent city don't want to be in them anyway, likening them to jail.